In response to concerns from top players, the PGA Tour has affirmed that they will have a say in the tour’s new partnership with the Saudi funders of LIV Golf.
Details of the agreement were recently published, outlining how the PGA Tour and DP World Tour would collaborate with the Saudis to determine the return and potential penalties for defectors to LIV Golf. The tour’s policy board, consisting of players such as Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy, Charley Hoffman, Peter Malnati, and Webb Simpson, released a statement emphasizing that players would need to approve any final agreement between the tours.
However, players expressed frustration over the lack of specific information in the framework agreement, which was negotiated privately by PGA commissioner Jay Monahan, independent board members, and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. As part of the deal, all pending lawsuits between the parties would be dismissed.
The PGA stated that the framework agreement concluded the costly litigation and that management, with input from player directors, has entered a new phase of negotiations to reach a definitive agreement that benefits players, fans, sponsors, partners, and the overall game.
Any proposed agreement resulting from future negotiations would require approval from the tour’s policy board, which includes player directors. The PGA Tour affirmed its commitment to maintaining control over the potential new commercial entity outlined in the framework agreement.
The board convened prior to the Rocket Mortgage Classic, a tournament that many top players opted to skip due to a demanding schedule that included the US Open and the Travelers Championship. The framework agreement entails the formation of a new commercial entity called “NewCo,” with agreements reached that the PGA Tour would retain a controlling interest.
As negotiations continue, the PGA Tour aims to address players’ concerns and reach a final agreement that serves the best interests of all stakeholders involved while maintaining control over the potential partnership with the Saudi funders of LIV Golf.