LIV Golf to merge with PGA Tour, Europe’s DP World Tour
“Going forward, fans can be confident that we will, collectively, deliver on the promise we’ve always made – to promote competition of the best in professional golf and that we are committed to securing and driving the game’s future.”
It was unclear what form the LIV Golf League would take in 2024, nor how the Ryder Cup might be affected.
Monahan said in a memo to players that a thorough evaluation would determine how to integrate team golf into the game.
The agreement combines the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s golf-related commercial businesses and rights – including LIV Golf – with those of the PGA and European tours. The new entity has not been named.
“They were going down their path, we were going down ours, and after a lot of introspection you realise all this tension in the game is not a good thing,” Monahan said in a phone interview with the Associated Press.
“We have a responsibility to our tour and to the game, and we felt like the time was right to have that conversation.”
Monahan said the deal had come together over the last seven weeks.
Yasir al-Rumayyan, the governor of PIF, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, will join the board of the PGA Tour.
Al-Rumayyan will be chairman of the new commercial group, with Monahan as the CEO and the PGA Tour having a majority stake in the new venture.
“Today is a very exciting day for this special game and the people it touches around the world,” said al-Rumayyan.
“We are proud to partner with the PGA Tour to leverage PIF’s unparallelled success and track record of unlocking value and bringing innovation and global best practices to business and sectors worldwide.”
LIV had sued the PGA Tour last year for allegedly engaging in monopolistic behaviour by using restrictive rules intended to deprive golfers from playing in rival leagues.
The PGA sought subpoenas to gather additional material to support its claims in its countersuit that LIV illegally pushed players to break contracts with the legacy US-based tour by offering them exorbitant sums of money. The announcement on Tuesday confirmed that all court cases would be dropped.
The decision to merge comes less than two weeks before the third major championship of the men’s golf season, the US Open.
For parts of 2022 and 2023, the majors were the only times that LIV Golf players played against the PGA and DP World Tour players.
Animosity grew between the factions, with six-times major winner Mickelson often speaking as the de facto player leader for LIV and directing accusations of collusion at the PGA Tour and other governing bodies, and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy fiercely defending the PGA Tour and criticising LIV frequently.
Mickelson welcomes news of the merger, posting on Twitter: “Awesome day today.”
Twice major winner Collin Morikawam who plays on the PGA and European tours, wasn’t happy about reading the news on social media.
“I love finding out morning news on Twitter,” he posted.
American golfer Michael Kim, also a PGA golfer, questioned how the deal was done.
“The hell is going on?” he wrote on Twitter. “Very curious how many people knew this deal was happening. About 5-7 people? Player run organisation right?”
AP, Reuters, Bloomberg
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