The PGA Tour has agreed to merge with Saudi-backed rival LIV Golf in a deal that will see the competitors squash pending litigation and move forward as a bigger golf enterprise.
The 2 entities signed an agreement that will mix the PGA Tour and LIV Golf’s business businesses and rights right into a latest, yet-to-be-named for-profit company. The agreement includes DP World Tour, also generally known as the European PGA Tour.
LIV Golf is backed by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, an entity controlled by the Saudi crown prince and has been embroiled in antitrust lawsuits with the PGA Tour within the last 12 months. The deal announced Tuesday would end all pending litigation.
PIF is ready to speculate billions of recent capital into the brand new entity, CNBC’S David Faber reported on Tuesday. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. As a part of the agreement, the three groups will establish “a good and objective process for any players who need to re-apply for membership with the PGA Tour or DP World Tour” following the tip of the 2023 season, in accordance with a release.
The agreement would require the approval of the PGA Tour policy board, Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a memo to players that was obtained by CNBC.
“There may be much work to do to get us from a framework agreement to a definitive agreement, but one
thing is clear: through this transformational agreement and with PIF’s collaborative investment, the immeasurable strength of the PGA Tour’s history, legacy and pro-competitive model not only stays intact, but is supercharged for the longer term,” he wrote within the memo.
LIV Golf, which has been spending top dollar to lure golfers, has also been the topic of controversy, criticism and political intrigue within the U.S.
Members of the family of people who perished within the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have protested the league, including outside of events. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11 from Saudi Arabia, and Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the attacks, was born within the country. It has been concluded by U.S. officials that Saudi nationals helped fund the terrorist group al-Qaida, although investigations didn’t find that the Saudi officials were complicit within the attacks.
Former President Donald Trump has hosted various LIV Golf events at his golf courses. He has defended being the host of events, falsely claiming that “no person’s gotten to the underside of 9/11.” Last 12 months, Trump also said on Truth Social that a merger between LIV and The PGA Tour was inevitable.
On Tuesday, Trump weighed in on the merger on his Truth Social platform: “Great news from LIV Golf. A giant, beautiful, and glamorous deal for the wonderful world of golf. Congrats to all!!!”
Critics of LIV have also accused PIF of “sportswashing” by utilizing the league to distract from the dominion’s history of human rights violations.
Team Captain Brooks Koepka of Smash GC and caddie Ricky Elliott shake hands on the 18th green during day three of the LIV Golf Invitational – Jeddah at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club on October 16, 2022 in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia.
Charles Laberge | LIV Golf | Getty Images
The 2 organizations had filed a series of antitrust claims between the 2 of them in recent months. LIV Golf has sued The PGA Tour alleging anti-competitive practices for banning its players. The tour had countersued, claiming LIV was stifling competition. Disputes ensued regarding the invention process for evidence.
The lawsuits were spurred because the upstart league had lured multiple high-profile players, corresponding to Phil Mickelson, from the PGA Tour after the tour had banned the players from competing in LIV’s events.
On Tuesday, Mickelson tweeted “Awesome day today” as a part of a retweet of the news of the merger.
The deal also comes soon after LIV golfer Brooks Koepka won the PGA Championship, one in every of 4 major titles in men’s golf.
Read the complete news release announcing the deal:
PGA TOUR, DP World Tour and PIF announce newly formed business entity to unify golf
PGA TOUR, DP World Tour, LIV Golf merge business operations under common ownership
Agreement establishes common goal to advertise and grow the sport globally for the good thing about all stakeholders, ends litigation
NEW YORK; RIYADH; PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida, June 6, 2023 – The PGA TOUR, DP World Tour and the Public Investment Fund (PIF) today announced a landmark agreement to unify the sport of golf, on a worldwide basis. The parties have signed an agreement that mixes PIF’s golf-related business businesses and rights (including LIV Golf) with the business businesses and rights of the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour right into a latest, collectively owned, for-profit entity to make sure that all stakeholders profit from a model that delivers maximum excitement and competition among the many game’s best players.
As well as, PIF will make a capital investment into the brand new entity to facilitate its growth and success. The brand new entity (name TBD) will implement a plan to grow these combined business businesses, drive greater fan engagement and speed up growth initiatives already underway. With LIV Golf within the midst of its second, groundbreaking season, the PGA TOUR, DP World Tour and PIF will work together to best feature and grow team golf going forward.
Notably, today’s announcement shall be followed by a mutually agreed end to all pending litigation between the participating parties. Further, the three organizations will work cooperatively and in good faith to ascertain a good and objective process for any players who desire to re-apply for membership with the PGA TOUR or the DP World Tour following the completion of the 2023 season and for determining fair criteria and terms of re-admission, consistent with each Tour’s policies.
“After two years of disruption and distraction, it is a historic day for the sport everyone knows and love,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay 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 a company that may profit golf’s players, business and charitable partners and fans. Going forward, fans might be confident that we are going to, collectively, deliver on the promise we have at all times made – to advertise competition of one of the best in skilled golf and that we’re committed to securing and driving the sport’s future.
“We’re pleased to maneuver forward, in line with LIV and PIF’s world-class investing experience, and I applaud PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan for his vision and collaborative and forward-thinking approach that just isn’t just an answer to the rift in our game, but in addition a commitment to taking it to latest heights. This can engender a latest era in global golf, for the higher.”
“Today is a really exciting day for this special game and the people it touches around the globe,” said PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan. “We’re 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’re committed to unifying, promoting and growing the sport of golf around the globe and offering the highest-quality product to the numerous hundreds of thousands of long-time fans globally, while cultivating latest fans.
“There is no such thing as a query that the LIV model has been positively transformative for golf. We consider there are opportunities for the sport to evolve while also maintaining its storied history and tradition. This partnership represents one of the best opportunity to increase and increase the impact of golf for all. We look ahead to collaborating with Jay and Keith to bring one of the best version of the sport to communities around the globe.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the Board of Directors of the brand new entity will oversee and direct all the brand new entity’s golf-related business operations, businesses and investments. The brand new entity will work to make sure a cohesive schedule of events that shall be exciting for fans, sponsors and all stakeholders. PIF will initially be the exclusive investor in the brand new entity, alongside the PGA TOUR, LIV Golf and the DP World Tour. Going forward, PIF could have the exclusive right to further put money into the brand new entity, including a right of first refusal on any capital which may be invested in the brand 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 within the combined entity.
Individually, PGA TOUR Inc. will remain in place as a 501(c)(6) tax exempt organization and retains administrative oversight of events for those assets contributed by the PGA TOUR, including the sanctioning of events, the administration of the competition and rules, in addition to all other “contained in the ropes” responsibilities, with Jay Monahan as Commissioner and Ed Herlihy as PGA TOUR Policy Board Chairman. PIF’s Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan will join the PGA TOUR Policy Board. The DP World Tour and LIV Golf will retain similar administrative oversight of events on their respective Tours.
The Board of Directors of the brand new business entity will include Al-Rumayyan as Chairman and Monahan as Chief Executive Officer; the brand new entity’s Board may even include an Executive Committee comprising Al-Rumayyan, Monahan, Herlihy and PGA TOUR Policy Board member Jimmy Dunne. The total Board shall be announced at a later date, and it’s anticipated that every one three founding members could have representation.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the DP World Tour, said “This can be a momentous day. We’re delighted to find a way to not only reignite our relationship with PIF, but in addition to have the chance to construct on our current Strategic Alliance partnership with the PGA TOUR. Together we shall be stronger than ever and well positioned to proceed to bring the sport to all corners of the globe. To partner on this latest entity and influence the expansion of the sport for all our DP World Tour members is energizing and exciting.”
All parties will work within the months to come back to finalize terms of the agreement, with details to be announced in the end.
That is breaking news. Check back for details.
– CNBC’s David Faber and Jessica Golden contributed to this text.