PGA Tour and LIV announce shock merger to end bitter split

PGA Tour and LIV announce shock merger to end bitter split

  • PGA Tour calls settlement an “historic day” for golf
  • Deal brings finish to litigation between events
  • PGA Tour gamers left shocked without warning announcement
  • Merger slammed by households of 9/11 victims

June 6 (Reuters) – The world of golf was left surprised on Tuesday because the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and rival Saudi-backed LIV circuit, who’ve been concerned in a bitter battle that has break up the game, introduced a shock settlement to merge and type one unified business entity.

Moreover, the organizations mentioned in a joint information launch they are going to work collectively to permit a course of for LIV Golf gamers to reapply for membership on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, previously often called the European Tour, following the 2023 season.

The bombshell announcement was slammed by many PGA Tour gamers who have been left at midnight in regards to the merger and comes after a really public disagreement between all the perimeters, mounting tensions and a bitter authorized battle.

“After two years of disruption and distraction, it is a historic day for the sport everyone knows and love,” mentioned PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, who had lengthy been a vocal critic of LIV Golf.

No particulars got as to how the settlement will influence the present aggressive golf panorama, together with eligibility for this 12 months’s Ryder Cup, although the events did say they are going to work within the coming months to finalise phrases of the merger.

The LIV Golf collection is bankrolled by the Saudi Arabia Public Funding Fund and critics have accused it of being a automobile for the nation to aim to enhance its repute within the face of criticism of its human rights document.

A lot of the backlash centres across the alleged involvement of the Saudi Arabian authorities in a mess of human rights violations, together with the homicide of Washington Put up journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

The deal introduced on Tuesday is a binding framework settlement however the monetary phrases haven’t been hashed out but, a supply aware of the matter mentioned.

Michael Klein & Co will conduct valuation work on LIV’s property and Allen & Co will conduct valuation work on the PGA Tour’s property earlier than the worth at which the merger will occur will get decided, the supply added.

A mechanism is included within the settlement to resolve any valuation disputes, the supply mentioned, with out elaborating additional.


The announcement of the merger contains an settlement to finish all pending litigation between the taking part events.

Moreover, the Public Funding Fund (PIF) will make a capital funding into the brand new entity to facilitate its development and success.

PIF, which owns greater than 90% of LIV, plans to take a position billions of {dollars} with the intention to have a sizeable minority stake within the mixed firm, an individual aware of the matter mentioned.

“As we speak is a really thrilling day for this particular sport and the folks it touches all over the world,” mentioned PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan. “We’re proud to associate with the PGA Tour to leverage PIF’s unparalleled success and monitor document of unlocking worth and bringing innovation and world finest practices to enterprise and sectors worldwide.”

LIV Golf, which options 54-hole occasions with no cuts as a substitute of the standard 72-hole format, launched in 2022 and lured big-name gamers away from the rival circuits with staggering sums of prize cash for each golfer.

The PIF will initially be the unique investor within the new entity and the board of administrators will embody Al-Rumayyan as Chairman and the PGA Tour’s Monahan as CEO.

After years of acrimony the deal appears to have come collectively shortly with little fuss and no leaks – regardless of it being one of many greatest business tales within the historical past of sport.

Al-Rumayyan instructed CNBC that he and Monahan met in London.

“We had a lunch adopted by the subsequent day a spherical of golf after which one other lunch. We had discussions and we coated every thing. I feel will probably be a matter of weeks (for a definitive settlement to be settled).”

Monahan added: “I give Yasir, nice credit score for coming to the desk, coming to discussions with an open coronary heart and an open thoughts. We did the identical and the sport of golf is healthier for what we have finished right here as we speak.”

The PGA Tour, which is a non-profit group, confirmed in July 2022 that the U.S. Justice Division was investigating whether or not it broke antitrust regulation in preventing off the rival LIV Golf circuit. learn extra

The PGA had sought to fend off the competitors by barring its gamers from taking part within the breakaway LIV circuit.

That mentioned, one antitrust knowledgeable mentioned that the PGA/LIV deal could be permitted and two others mentioned it was too near name.

“That is leisure. I feel that might make it a much less precedence for the antitrust enforcers,” mentioned Seth Bloom of Bloom Strategic Counsel.


Among the many extra standard gamers who made the transfer to LIV Golf are Corridor of Fame golfer Phil Mickelson, former world primary Dustin Johnson, reigning PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka and 2022 British Open winner Cameron Smith.

“Superior day as we speak,” tweeted Mickelson, whose public picture took successful in February 2022 when the writer of an unauthorised biography on him launched excerpts from the ebook wherein he known as the Saudis “scary” however mentioned he was prepared to look previous their human rights data to realize leverage with the PGA Tour.

Some PGA Tour gamers took to Twitter to specific their shock having not been knowledgeable of the settlement earlier than its announcement.

“I really like discovering out morning information on Twitter,” wrote two-times main champion Collin Morikawa.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump, who owns three programs which are a part of LIV Golf’s 14-event schedule in 2023, celebrated the deal in a Fact social submit utilizing all caps.

“Nice information from LIV Golf. An enormous, lovely, and glamorous deal for the fantastic world of golf. Congrats to all!!!”

Since its launch, LIV gamers have solely competed alongside their former colleagues on the majors as these 4 blue-riband occasions on the golf calendar will not be run by both the PGA Tour or DP World Tour however by unbiased establishments.

A lot of those that accepted profitable signing bonuses to affix LIV Golf cited as their purpose for making the leap a need to play fewer occasions and spend extra time with their households.

Advocacy teams 9/11 Households United and Democracy for the Arab World Now, which was based by Khashoggi, have been among the many organizations that denounced the deal.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11, 2001 have been from Saudi Arabia. Nonetheless, the dominion has lengthy denied a job within the assaults on the Twin Towers, which killed almost 3,000 folks.

“Jay Monahan co-opted the 9/11 group final 12 months within the PGA (Tour’s) unequivocal settlement that the Saudi LIV undertaking was nothing greater than sportswashing of Saudi Arabia’s repute,” 9/11 Households United mentioned in a press release.

“Now the PGA and Monahan seem to have change into simply extra paid Saudi shills, taking billions of {dollars} to cleanse the Saudi repute in order that People and the world will overlook how the Kingdom spent their billions of {dollars} earlier than 9/11 to fund terrorism, unfold their vitriolic hatred, and finance al Qaeda and the homicide of our family members.”

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Further reporting by Diane Bartz, Greg Roumeliotis, Jonathan Landay and Mitch Phillips; Enhancing by Alex Richardson, Christian Radnedge and Toby Davis

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.


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