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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Still No Deal: PGA Tour–PIF Negotiations Remain in Limbo

  • PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan claims talks with the PIF are accelerating.
  • Monahan would not offer a timeline for completing a deal with LIV Golf’s backer.
Clayton Freeman/Florida Times-Union

Ten months since the PGA Tour announced a framework agreement for a shocking partnership with the controversial financial backer of LIV Golf, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia,  a definitive deal has yet to be reached. Answers on if, and when, that potentially multibillion-dollar investment could be completed remain up in the air.

At the Players Championship on Tuesday, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan was mostly coy about talks with the PIF during his first press conference since the Tour Championship in August. Monahan said he and principals from Strategic Sports Group—the consortium of U.S. sports owners who are investing up to $3 billion in the Tour—made a trip to Saudi Arabia in January to meet with PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan and members of the fund. “Our negotiations are accelerating as we spend time together,” he said, while noting several key issues still need to be worked through.

Monahan wouldn’t offer specifics about what is still being negotiated and deflected questions about Jon Rahm’s $300 million–plus departure, LIV players returning to the Tour, the potential for more players to join LIV, and what the Tour would look like if the PIF deal ultimately falls through.

New Timeline?

After the Tour and PIF missed the Dec. 31 deadline to reach a definitive agreement, doing so before the Masters was reported to be the new goal. While Monahan said he believes the inclusion of SSG is enhancing the likelihood of reaching a deal with the PIF, he gave no indication a conclusion was coming soon. “I expect next time I’m in front of all of you we’ll have a lot more progress to report,” said Monahan, who is not expected to hold another press conference until this summer’s aforementioned Tour Championship—more than five months away.

What Could Have Been

When news broke that Anthony Kim, who last competed professionally in 2012 before joining LIV last month, was looking to make a comeback, the PGA Tour was said to also be in talks with the former superstar. Monahan confirmed that the Tour spoke with Kim, who was long reported to have an insurance policy with the Tour worth $10 million, about a return. “I would have liked to see him compete to make his way back to the Tour,” Monahan said. “But obviously he made a different decision.” It is unknown what type of signing bonus LIV gave Kim, who has made $110,000 through two starts while finishing 53rd and 50th in the league’s 54-man fields.

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