The PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund are partnering up, but so far, details are sparse. There has been much speculation on what this new entity will look like, but the public has not been privy to any of the specifics.
However, in an interview with Sports Illustrated, Jimmy Dunne, a member of the PGA Tour policy board, shared what the future of the partnership could look like, and the roles of some key executives. Here’s what we know.
Jay Monahan runs the show
There have been many questions on who holds the power in this new entity. Is it Jay Monahan and the Tour’s board majority? Is it PIF governor Yassir Al-Rumayyan and his limitless reserves of cash? According to Dunne, Monahan will be the man with the most power. In the SI article, it is reported that Monahan will not only oversee the Tour, but also LIV Golf. This (seemingly) makes Monahan the most powerful man in the professional game, running not only the largest tour on the planet, but one of its biggest competitors as well.
LIV’s future is murky
This partnership was initially touted as a huge win for LIV Golf, but the Dunne interview draws that narrative into question. LIV will play out the remainder of the 2023 season, but after that, the league will be evaluated by Monahan. If he and his team like what they see, LIV may return for another season, but Monahan has the authority to disband the upstart tour if he sees fit.
LIV players won’t be welcomed back immediately
If you thought this partnership would mean LIV players will be back on Tour like they never left, think again. Monahan and other Tour leadership will set the terms for the defectors to return, and the penalties are presumed to be steep. LIV golfers may now have a path back to the Tour, but it won’t come without paying a price.
The PIF does not own the Tour
It’s easy to see how this merger could look like the Saudis have effectively purchased the Tour, but that is not the case. According to the terms of the arrangement, the PIF will not contribute any money directly to the Tour or its players. Instead, they will have “right of first refusal” to be the Tour’s investment partner through the new entity. If the Tour wants to make any future investments, the PIF will have the right to join them in the endeavor.
Greg Norman’s future is uncertain
When asked about the involvement of Greg Norman during the initial CNBC announcement Tuesday morning, Al-Rumayyan did not exactly give a ringing endorsement of LIV’s current CEO.
“I made a call just before this, and of course, he is a partner with us,” Al-Rumayyan said. “And all the stakeholders that we have with us, they had the call right before this interview.”
Norman told LIV employees this week that he is not going anywhere, but with Monahan at the helm of the league now, it’s uncertain if Norman will remain a part of the company.
No money has been promised (yet)
While this deal will undoubtedly see a mass cash influx into the game, there is nothing set in stone yet. Dunne told SI that PIF has not promised any investments yet, and the Tour has not promised anything other than “right of first refusal” on future investments. It’s easy to imagine a world where the PIF sponsors future Tour events, but as of yet, nothing is certain.