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Player meeting lightly attended, and ‘a lot of unknowns’ remain


MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Tuesday’s player meeting at the FedEx St. Jude Championship featured a predictable slate of questions and an equally predictable response from PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.

“A lot of unknowns,” Tom Hoge said of the meeting that lasted about an hour and half and was lightly attended, even by Tour standards. “It was good just to have Jay there in front of us, see him again and see that he’s doing well. Who knows what the path is going forward. I’ll guess we’ll just wait and see.”

The meeting was Monahan’s first with players since he took a leave because of a medical situation in June. According to various sources, the conversation focused on the framework agreement the Tour reached with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and the DP World Tour. The agreement allowed the three sides to negotiate a possible definitive agreement that would create a for-profit partnership.

“There are a lot of parts that have to come together,” Rickie Fowler said. “They have to get a majority, if not unanimous, as far as board and player support. So yes, there’s a lot of things that have to come together for this to happen, and I would say you’d have to sell everyone on the idea that this is the best option for the Tour, for the players, for everyone moving forward.”

The framework agreement included a Jan. 1, 2024, deadline to reach a definitive deal and despite speculation that the deal is inevitable, there still seems to be plenty to negotiate.

“Yeah,” Hoge said when asked if there was a chance the deal could fall apart. “It’s a very real possibility. There’s a lot of moving parts that have to come together for it.”

For players like Fowler, who is a member of the Player Advisory Council, the possibility of the deal with the PIF falling through prompted many of the meeting’s most pointed questions.

“If the deal doesn’t work what are the potentials of moving forward? Does NewCo (a placeholder name for what the for-profit entity would become) still stay around? Are there other investors? Is the Tour sustainable how we currently are?” Fowler said of the meeting. “The Tour is in a great spot and it’s going to continue to grow. The possibility of NewCo and still looking at that, that could be a better option to continue to move forward, whether that’s PIF [as an investor] or not. It’s more along the structure and what is the best option moving forward, whether that’s with NewCo or without.”

About 25 players from the field of 70 attended the meeting, and the list of those who skipped included Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay, both player directors on the policy board which will ultimately decide if the deal with the PIF moves forward.