PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has expressed optimism that the deal with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is currently underway, will be finalized before the end of the year. Back in June, an agreement of some sort involving the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and PIF, which funds LIV Golf, was announced out of the blue. All parties to the agreement have until December 31st to negotiate a binding contract.
Monahan stated, “There’s a sense of urgency to complete this deal. Tremendous progress is being made.”
He continued, “The PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and PIF are investing a significant amount of time and effort to transition from a mere framework to a concrete agreement. It demonstrates our earnest commitment to form a cooperative relationship, to establish NewCo, a viable entity for PIF to invest in — something that did not exist before — and for the PGA Tour to retain control over the future of men’s professional golf.”
Monahan’s remarks came during his annual news conference leading up to the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
Recall that following the surprise announcement in June, which terminated litigation between major tours and the Saudis, there were calls from disgruntled PGA Tour players for Monahan’s resignation. In response, Monahan temporarily stepped aside from his role to address mental health issues.
However, Monahan clarified that the framework agreement was not primarily about ending expensive legal disputes. “If our goal was to end litigation, we could have simply announced that we were doing so,” he added.
Monahan refrained from discussing potential outcomes if the agreement with the Saudis does not come to fruition. His focus remains on the ongoing negotiations with PIF, and he expressed certainty in achieving a positive outcome for the PGA Tour.
The Public Investment Fund (PIF) is known for its ownership of Newcastle United in the Premier League and its acquisition of several Saudi Pro League teams. This increasing involvement in major sports has drawn criticism due to Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
The proposed deal has garnered significant attention and debate within the world of professional golf. It represents a potential shift in the landscape of the sport, with financial backing from PIF playing a central role in its development. However, concerns over human rights issues and the impact on the sport’s integrity have led to a complex and polarized discussion.