PGA Tour Says 'Progress Was Made' in Latest Talks With PIF

The Tour's transaction committee met with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia in New York on Friday as the parties continue to work toward a deal.
PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan was part of a Friday meeting with Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia .
PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan was part of a Friday meeting with Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia . / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA

 DUBLIN, Ohio – The PGA Tour said in a statement Saturday morning that its meeting with representatives of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia on Friday was a continuation of “accelerated’’ talks “where more progress was made.’’

A year ago this week, the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and PIF entered into a “framework agreement’’ that has yet to be consummated as a way to bring unity to the men’s professional game.

The PGA Tour and LIV Golf League—which is funded by the PIF—are both playing events this weekend, the PGA Tour at the Memorial Tournament and LIV Golf in Houston.

Last month Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott were named to a “transaction committee’’ that is to deal directly with the PIF as part of a plan to get investment in the new PGA Enterprises.

The others on the committee are PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan;  former Tour player and board liaison Joe Ogilvie; Joe Gorder, who is an executive with Valero and the chairman of PGA Tour Enterprises; and John Henry, a principal with Fenway Sports Group and part of the Strategic Sports Group, which earlier this year invested $1.5 billion in PGA Tour Enterprises.

The group met in New York on Friday with representatives of the PIF, including its governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan. McIlroy, who is playing in the Memorial Tournament, participated via video conference.

“I certainly don’t see in the next couple of years LIV slowing down,’’ McIlroy said during an interview Thursday. “They’re buying office space in New York. They have over 200 employees. I don’t see a world where—and I haven’t heard any of those guys say that they don’t want to play over there either, right? You’ve got guys who are on contracts until 2028, 2029.

“Looking a few years down the line, LIV is going to continue to sort of keep going down its path. But hopefully with maybe more of a collaboration or an understanding between the tours. Maybe there is some cross pollenization there where players can start to play on both. I guess that will all be talked about it in the coming weeks.’’

McIlroy said the transaction committee has met a few times amongst themselves and every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with representatives of the PIF for the last few weeks.

It’s been a year since the “framework agreement’ was announced, with no deal made and plenty of conjecture back and forth. The SSG commitment stalled talks with the PIF, but seemingly have resumed with plenty of ground to cover. This was the first time the transaction committee met in person with Al-Rumayyan.

“Representatives from the PGA Tour Enterprises Transaction Subcommittee and the PIF have been meeting multiple times weekly to work through potential deal terms and come to a shared vision on the future of professional golf,’’ the Tour said in a statement Saturday. “On Friday evening, an in-person session in New York City included the entire Transaction Subcommittee and PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan and his team, where more progress was made.

“We remain committed to these negotiations, which require working through complex considerations to best position golf for global growth. We want to get this right, and we are approaching discussions with careful consideration for our players, our fans, our partners and the game’s future.’’


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Bob Harig

BOB HARIG

Bob Harig is a senior golf writer for Sports Illustrated. He has more than 25 years experience covering golf, including 15 at ESPN. Bob is a regular guest on Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio and has written two books, DRIVE: The Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods and Tiger and Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry. He graduated from Indiana University where he earned an Evans Scholarship, named in honor of the great amateur golfer Charles (Chick) Evans Jr. Bob, a former president of the Golf Writers Association of America, lives in Clearwater, Florida.