PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan (right) speaks with International Team captain Trevor Immelman during Sunday singles play at the Presidents Cup. The United States won the event for the ninth consecutive time. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) Read more on ScoreGolf. Article by Jason Logan. PGA Tour, LIV Golf and DP World Tour have announced they have merged commercial operations under common ownership.
“After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan
In a move nobody saw coming, the PGA Tour, LIV Golf and DP World Tour are merging to create a “new, collectively owned, for-profit entity to ensure that all stakeholders benefit from a model that delivers maximum excitement and competition among the game’s best players.”
The stunning news was announced Tuesday morning, with players at the RBC Canadian Open informed of the news by tour brass. For those not here at Oakdale Golf and Country Club, social media was their source, further evidence of the secrecy surrounding the details.
According to a 10 a.m. news release, the agreement will see the golf-related commercial business interests of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which includes LIV Golf, combine with the commercial business and rights of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour. As well, the PIF will make a major capital investment — initially PIF is the “exclusive investor,” per the release — into the new entity to “facility its growth and success.”
That has led to speculation that the PGA Tour — seemingly winning both the player and public relations battle between it and LIV for the last year, as well as legal ones — has made this move because it needs the money.
The as-yet named new entity is clearly still in planning mode, though the release stated that the PGA Tour, PIF and DP World Tour will “work together to best feature and grow team golf moving forward.”
What that means for a 2024 global golf schedule, assuming that’s when the changes will take hold, is anybody’s guess at this point. It also leads to questions about how long-standing individual PGA Tour tournaments, such as the RBC Canadian Open, will work, and questions about which title sponsors will want to remain involved with the tour under this new arrangement. RBC is in the last year of its title sponsor deals with the Canadian Open and Heritage in South Carolina.
“After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, en route to the RBC Canadian Open to meet with players this afternoon, in the release.“ This transformational partnership recognizes the immeasurable strength of the PGA Tour’s history, legacy and pro-competitive model and combines with it the DP World Tour and LIV — including the team golf concept — to create an organization that will benefit golf’s players, commercial and charitable partners and fans. Going forward, fans can be confident that we will, collectively, deliver on the promise we’ve always made — to promote competition of the best in professional golf and that we are committed to securing and driving the game’s future.”
The new entity’s board of directors will oversee and direct all golf-related commercial operations, businesses and investments. Monahan will serve as its chief executive officer and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Public Investment Fund, as chairman. Al-Rumayyan will also join the PGA Tour’s policy board. Of note: Greg Norman’s name did not appear anywhere in the press release.
“There is no question that the LIV model has been positively transformative for golf,” stated Al-Rumayyan in the release. “We believe there are opportunities for the game to evolve while also maintaining its storied history and tradition. This partnership represents the best opportunity to extend and increase the impact of golf for all. We look forward to collaborating with Jay and Keith to bring the best version of the game to communities around the world.”
With most tour players apparently stunned by this news, there is bound to be blowback from those who did not take whopping LIV Golf appearance-fee money only to see this merger take place. Rory McIlroy, the two-time RBC Canadian Open defending champion, has been the most vocal supporter of the PGA Tour over the last year but had hinted more recently that the PGA Tour and LIV should find a way to work together.
That’s definitely the case now, though nobody knows exactly how it’s all going to come together.