Agreement establishes common goal to promote and grow the game globally for the benefit of all stakeholders, ends litigation

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida – Following more than a year of litigation, trash talk, ill-will and animosity the PGA Tour and the LIV Golf League (represented by the Public Investment Fund (PIF)) it seems have kissed, made up and become partners after signing an agreement to “unify the game of golf, on a global basis,” according to a statement by the PGA Tour.

The two entities are combining business rights, but the Saudi Public Investor will be the “Exclusive investor” in the new venture.

The statement began: 

“The parties have signed an agreement that combines PIF’s golf-related commercial businesses and rights (including LIV Golf) with the commercial businesses and rights of the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour into a new, collectively owned, for-profit entity to ensure that all stakeholders benefit from a model that delivers maximum excitement and competition among the game’s best players.”

PIF will make a capital investment into the yet to be named new entity:

“In addition, PIF will make a capital investment into the new entity to facilitate its growth and success. The new entity (name TBD) will implement a plan to grow these combined commercial businesses, drive greater fan engagement and accelerate growth initiatives already underway. With LIV Golf in the midst of its second, groundbreaking season, the PGA TOUR, DP World Tour and PIF will work together to best feature and grow team golf going forward.”

Most notably in the statement is the concession that “all pending litigation” will have a “mutually agreed end.” Litigation, most of which is antitrust claims, have been ongoing for well over a year:

“Notably, today’s announcement will be followed by a mutually agreed end to all pending litigation between the participating parties. Further, the three organizations will work cooperatively and in good faith to establish a fair and objective process for any players who desire to reapply for membership with the PGA TOUR or the DP World Tour following the completion of the 2023 season and for determining fair criteria and terms of re-admission, consistent with each Tour’s policies.”

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said it is a historic day for Golf and reflected on the distractions:

“After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “This transformational partnership recognizes the immeasurable strength of the PGA TOUR’s history, legacy and pro-competitive model and combines with it the DP World Tour and LIV – including the team golf concept – to create an organization that will benefit golf’s players, commercial and charitable partners and fans. Going forward, fans can be confident that we will, collectively, deliver on the promise we’ve always made – to promote competition of the best in professional golf and that we are committed to securing and driving the game’s future. We are pleased to move forward, in step with LIV and PIF’s world-class investing experience, and I applaud PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan for his vision and collaborative and forward-thinking approach that is not just a solution to the rift in our game, but also a commitment to taking it to new heights. This will engender a new era in global golf, for the better.”

PIF Governor said the separation of the two entities was not good for golf. He sees the merger as a chance to heal some of those wounds and bring the world back together through the game:

“Today is a very exciting day for this special game and the people it touches around the world,” said PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan. “We are proud to partner with the PGA TOUR to leverage PIF’s unparalleled success and track record of unlocking value and bringing innovation and global best practices to business and sectors worldwide. We are committed to unifying, promoting and growing the game of golf around the world and offering the highest-quality product to the many millions of longtime fans globally while cultivating new fans.”

Al-Rumayyan says LIV has been a great thing for Golf.

“There is no question that the LIV model has been positively transformative for golf. We believe there are opportunities for the game to evolve while also maintaining its storied history and tradition. This partnership represents the best opportunity to extend and increase the impact of golf for all. We look forward to collaborating with Jay and Keith to bring the best version of the game to communities around the world,” continued Al-Rumayyan.

The PGA Tour, DP Tour and LIV will retain oversight over their own product, according to Chief Executive of the DP World Tour Keith Pelley.

“This is a momentous day,” said Pelley. “We are delighted to be able to not only reignite our relationship with PIF but also to have the opportunity to build on our current Strategic Alliance partnership with the PGA TOUR. Together we will be stronger than ever and well-positioned to continue to bring the game to all corners of the globe. To partner in this new entity and influence the growth of the game for all our DP World Tour members is energizing and exciting.”

All parties will work in the months to come to finalize terms of the agreement, according to the PGA Tour. More details will be announced soon.

Photo by Narsimha Rao Mangu:

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