In a bombshell development that’s sure to leave jaws on the ground and eyes rolled, the PGA Tour has agreed to merge with Saudi-backed “rebel league” LIV Golf, punctuating an ugly two-year stoush which drew a line in the sport’s sand.
According to CNBC, the rival entities have signed an agreement to combine both their commercial businesses and rights, forming a larger yet-to-be-named company a la WWE x UFC. This company will also absorb the DP World Tour (otherwise known as the PGA European Tour).
Aside from ending the competition for viewership and talent, as you will have already gathered, this deal also ends all pending litigation, including the antitrust lawsuit filed by LIV Golf lawyers against the PGA Tour.
“After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan expressed in the official statement.
“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.”
Monahan added: “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.”
🚨🚨🚨 Breaking.— Monday Q Info (@acaseofthegolf1) June 6, 2023
The letter sent to players just now from Jay. Holy cow. pic.twitter.com/12A4X8nCTX
What makes this entire ordeal even spicier is the fact that neither the entities’ biggest players – i.e. Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Australia’s own Cam Smith – nor LIV Golf CEO Greg “The Shark” Norman himself had any knowledge of the merger prior to its announcement.
Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund who will serve as chairman of the new megatour, revealed to CNBC that he’d only phoned Norman for the heads up right before his television appearance.
“He is aware. I made a call just before this,” said Al-Rumayyan (via Fox Sports).
“Of course, he’s a partner with us. All the stakeholders with us had a call right before this interview.”
Al-Rumayyan noted the specifics are still being negotiated with the current goal of reaching a final agreement “within weeks”; something that likely won’t prove difficult considering the PIF is prepared to throw “billions” at the collaborative venture.
Play it as it lies, I suppose.