Jimmy Dunne talks potential reward for loyalists, punishment for LIV defectors
Jimmy Dunne, a PGA Tour policy board member, continues to provide details as to how the partnership between the Tour, DP World Tour and the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund will come together.
According to Dunne, players who remained loyal to the Tour instead of defecting to LIV Golf would receive equity shares in the new for-profit enterprise.
“The new [company] would grow, and the [current PGA Tour] players would get a piece of equity that would enhance and increase in value as time went on,” Dunne said in an interview with ESPN. “There would have to be some kind of formulaic decision on how to do that. It would be a process to determine what would be a fair mechanism that would be really beneficial to our players.”
This comes on the heels of harsh criticism that the partnership would essentially reward the players who left the Tour in favor of LIV, while the players who remained loyal to the Tour would have no way to make up for the money they left on the table by choosing to spurn LIV’s offers.
Players such as (but not limited to) Hideki Matsuyama, Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay and Cameron Young reportedly turned down contracts worth as much, if not more than, $100 million guaranteed to remain with the Tour.
The players who left the Tour for LIV Golf would not be eligible to participate in the new company’s equity plan.
Dunne said Tour commissioner Jay Monahan would have oversight of LIV Golf under the new agreement, which would allow him to determine whether the 54-hole, shotgun start league will continue beyond this season. Monahan will serve as CEO of the new entity, while PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan will be chairman.
If LIV Golf ceases to exist, Dunne said a committee consisting of current Tour members and administrators would determine potential punishment for players who left for LIV but wanted to return to the Tour.
“I think we would form a panel, including Tour players, that would evaluate what the terms would be,” Dunne said. “Remember, they’re coming back to compete on the Tour, so they have to be confident that they would be good enough to continue to play, and they have to be willing to incur the penalty for having gone.”
According to ESPN, punishment would likely be considered on a case-by-case basis. For example, the 11 players who sued the Tour after bolting for LIV might face harsher punishment than those who quietly jumped to the opposition.
“Players on the LIV [tour] that wanted to reinstate into the PGA Tour would go through a process [and] suspension,” Dunne said. “Whatever the penalty was, they’d have to decide whether they wanted to do that or not and then they could play.”