PGA Tour looks to assure players it is in leadership role regarding Saudi agreement
PGA Tour officials intend to tackle a growing narrative that the “framework” agreement the circuit signed with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia two weeks ago is not a takeover of professional golf.
According to a source familiar with the agreement, who requested anonymity, the deal has built-in safeguards that will ensure the Tour maintains leadership of both the new entity – which will be for-profit and is tentatively called NewCo in the agreement – as well as the PGA Tour.
The agreement calls for the for-profit assets of the Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf, which is owned by the PIF, to be bundled into NewCo, with the PIF making a minority investment based on the evaluation of the new entity. Under the agreement, the Tour has the right to decline subsequent investments.
For the Tour, those for-profit assets would include any media rights, sponsorships, the TPC network and any licensing agreements. The board of directors of NewCo will include an executive committee of Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Jimmy Dunne and Ed Herlihy, who are members of the Tour’s policy board and forged the framework agreement with the PIF. The tax-exemption arm of the Tour, including anything “inside the ropes,” will remain autonomous.
With Monahan still recovering from a “medical situation,” Tuesday’s player meeting at TPC River Highlands will be run by executive vice president Tyler Dennis, who, along with chief operating officer Ron Price, is handling the day-to-day operations of the Tour while Monahan recovers.
Feedback at a player meeting the day the agreement was announced was universally negative and officials are expected to outline the safeguards built into the deal and attempt to win back the trust of players, who have been widely critical of the deal and the secrecy that surrounded the negotiations.