Tiger Woods, PGA Tour player directors call out ‘speculation’ in memo to players
Unsubstantiated reports of more players leaving the PGA Tour to join LIV Golf have dominated the golf world this week and prompted a response from the circuit’s six policy board player directors.
In the memo sent to players late Friday, the player directors – Tiger Woods, Charley Hoffman, Peter Malnati, Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson and Jordan Spieth (along with Adam Scott, who will replace Hoffman at the start of 2024) – addressed “speculation in our game” with a two-page update on the Tour’s ongoing negotiations with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and the long-awaited “governance” review.
“With the 2024 season just around the corner and with so much speculation in our game, we wanted to speak to you directly,” the memo began.
“Since Tiger joined the policy board on Aug. 1, the player directors have been doing everything we can to ensure the PGA Tour is best positioned to thrive for decades to come,” the memo continued. “We have learned a lot, and we are encouraged by progress on multiple fronts.”
Echoing comments made by Woods earlier this week at the Hero World Challenge, the update outlines the creation of a “governance committee” which is focused on making sure “no major decision can be made in the future without the prior involvement and approval of the player directors.”
Although the memo, like a similar memo sent last month by Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, doesn’t give any details, it does outline “ongoing” negotiations with PIF and the DP World Tour towards a definitive agreement by the Dec. 31 deadline outlined in the framework agreement.
The memo also references other investment possibilities, which Monahan suggested this week could work alongside investment from PIF.
“These are not traditional ‘private equity’ groups as has been reported, but rather multi-decade oriented, strategic partners. Each group is optimistic about the growth opportunities for the PGA Tour and their ability to help drive the growth,” the memo read. “We have agreed that we will work to reach a unanimous consensus before voting on any proposal that either creates a for-profit entity or contemplates third-party investment.”
The cornerstone of any deal with PIF or some other private equity will be “equity grants” for members and the player directors “are committed to providing ownership opportunities to both current and future PGA Tour members,” the memo read.