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Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Messaging Pivotal for PGA Tour Amid Saudi PIF Fallout

  • Tour wants to frame deal as new investment, not a merger with LIV Golf.
  • Details are still being ironed out before making anything official.
Jay Monahan
Alex Gould/The Republic

For the PGA Tour, controlling the narrative will be key to gaining public support for its partnership with Saudi Arabia’s controversial Public Investment Fund.

Since Tuesday morning’s news, headlines have understandably labeled the turn of events as a merger between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf — but that’s not how the Tour sees it.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has emphasized the importance of remaining a 501(c)(6) tax-exempt organization while also creating a new for-profit company with the PIF and DP World Tour.

Rory McIlroy echoed that sentiment and explained his frustration with the confusion on Wednesday.

“All the headlines were ‘PGA Tour merges with LIV,’” he said. “And LIV’s got nothing to do with this.” McIlroy noted Monahan would effectively have the final say on all LIV business, adding, “I still hate LIV. … I hope it goes away.”

Monahan isn’t off to a hot start navigating criticism of Saudi Arabia, especially its involvement in 9/11. He stumbled through a question on the matter during a Golf Channel interview on Wednesday.

What About The Shark?

On Wednesday, LIV Golf League commissioner Greg Norman reportedly told employees the tour would be moving forward as its own entity, despite Monahan saying he couldn’t see that scenario unfolding on Tuesday. 

The deal still needs PGA Tour Policy Board approval in the coming weeks — but given that Norman wasn’t consulted, it wouldn’t be surprising if the LIV brand is no longer a priority for the PIF in this new partnership.

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