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Sunday, February 25, 2024
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PGA Tour, Saudi PIF Partnership Deadline Passes With No Resolution

  • The framework announced in June would combine the assets of the PGA Tour, LIV, and DP World Tour into a new commercial entity.
  • PGA Tour officials continue negotiating with another funding partner, Strategic Sports Group.
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The midnight deadline to complete negotiations toward the reunification of pro golf came and went—but that doesn’t mean the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund won’t eventually come to a deal. 

It has been clear for several weeks that a definitive agreement between the two parties wouldn’t be reached before the deadline laid out in the framework agreement announced in June. Instead, sources tell Front Office Sports that the focus has been on a deadline extension—something that the provision framework stated can only be accomplished by “mutual consent of the parties.” 

There’s been no confirmation that all parties agreed to extend the deadline, although PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan wrote in a memo to players on Sunday that the Tour continued to have “active and productive conversations with PIF and the DP World Tour.”

“While we had initially set a deadline of Dec. 31, 2023, to reach an agreement, we are working to extend our negotiations into next year based on the progress we have made to date,” Monahan wrote. The PGA Tour Policy Board told players in a previous memo, on Dec. 10, that it was “very confident in an eventual, positive outcome for all players and the PGA Tour as a whole.”  

A representative from LIV did not comment after the PGA memo Sunday. A PGA Tour spokesperson declined comment. 

The framework agreement from June aims to combine the assets of the PGA Tour, LIV, and DP World Tour into a new commercial entity (PGA Tour Enterprises). But “negotiating an agreement to reshape a global sport in six months was always overly ambitious,” says sports law attorney John Nucci. “I think both parties understand the value that a partnership can bring, and I would expect them to come to an agreement sometime in 2024.”

Some PGA Tour players on the Policy Board, which includes Tiger Woods, have pushed back against the PGA-LIV deal since it was first announced, especially after secret negotiations were conducted by Monahan, PGA Tour Policy Board Chair Ed Herlihy, Policy Board member Jimmy Dunne, and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the PIF. 

Meanwhile, PGA Tour officials continue negotiating with another funding partner, Strategic Sports Group, a consortium that includes Fenway Sports Group, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, and New York Mets owner Steve Cohen. 

“I am pleased to report that we have made meaningful progress and have provided SSG with the due diligence information they requested,” Monahan wrote in the Sunday memo. “As we move forward in our discussions, we are focused on the finalization of terms and drafts of necessary documents.”

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