by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News June 6, 2023
The PGA announced on Monday a merger with the upstart LIV Golf tour. Former President Donald Trump predicted as much a year ago.
The two entities signed an agreement that would combine the PGA Tour’s and LIV Golf’s commercial businesses and rights into a new, for-profit company (not yet named). The agreement includes DP World Tour, also known as the PGA European Tour.
The PGA TOUR, DP World Tour, and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which funds LIV Golf, said the landmark agreement was made to unify the game of golf on a global basis.
The PGA Tour will remain a 501(c)(6) tax exempt organization with Jay Monahan as its commissioner, though PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan will join the Tour’s policy board, PGA.com reported on Monday.
LIV Golf debuted in 2022 with an eight-tournament schedule, featuring stops in the U.S., Thailand, and Saudi Arabia. The LIV Golf Invitational boasted a total prize fund of $250 million and blended 54-hole stroke play with a team concept.
In July of last year, a 14-tournament league was unveiled, with 48 contracted players competing on 12 “established team franchises” starting in 2023. The prize pot swelled to $405 million, with LIV players able to share in revenue and profits as their teams started selling corporate sponsorships and ownership stakes.
Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy said last year that he considered the LIV concept “dead in the water” after the likes of Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau committed to the PGA Tour. Both later made the leap to LIV Golf, with Johnson alone reportedly pocketing $116 million to join.
U.S. stars Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, and Cameron Smith also joined LIV along with European Ryder Cup stars such as Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell, and Martin Kaymer.
In July of 2022 during LIV Golf’s inaugural season, Trump predicted the tours would merge, writing on Truth Social:
“All of those golfers that remain ‘loyal’ to the very disloyal PGA, in all of its different forms, will pay a big price when the inevitable MERGER with LIV comes, and you get nothing but a big ‘thank you’ from PGA officials who are making Millions of Dollars a year. If you don’t take the money now, you will get nothing after the merger takes place, and only say how smart the original signees were.”
Monday’s announcement will be followed by a mutually agreed end to all pending litigation between the participating golf tours.
“After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love,” said Monahan. “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.”
“Today is a very exciting day for this special game and the people it touches around the world,” said Al-Rumayyan. “We are proud to partner with the PGA TOUR to leverage PIF’s unparalleled success and track record of unlocking value and bringing innovation and global best practices to business and sectors worldwide. We are committed to unifying, promoting and growing the game of golf around the world and offering the highest-quality product to the many millions of long-time fans globally, while cultivating new fans. There is no question that the LIV model has been positively transformative for golf.”
PGA.com’s report noted: “Under the terms of the agreement, the Board of Directors of the new entity will oversee and direct all the new entity’s golf-related commercial operations, businesses and investments. The new entity will work to ensure a cohesive schedule of events that will be exciting for fans, sponsors and all stakeholders. PIF will initially be the exclusive investor in the new entity, alongside the PGA TOUR, LIV Golf and the DP World Tour. Going forward, PIF will have the exclusive right to further invest in the new entity, including a right of first refusal on any capital that may be invested in the new entity, including into the PGA TOUR, LIV Golf and DP World Tour. The PGA TOUR will appoint a majority of the Board and hold a majority voting interest in the combined entity.”