PGA and European golf tours unite with LIV Golf
The PGA and European golf tours have reached an agreement with LIV Golf that will end years of discord in the professional golf world and could lead to LIV golfers returning to PGA Tour events.
The PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf agreed to combine golf-related commercial businesses and end lawsuits involving the parties, according to an announcement Tuesday.
The PGA Tour, based in Ponte Vedra Beach, will remain as a tax-exempt organization with oversight of its own events, including competition and rules. The tours still must work out how players who left the PGA Tour — such as highly ranked Cameron Smith of Ponte Vedra Beach — can return.
"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," according to an announcement from the PGA Tour.
LIV Golf upended professional golf when it formed two years ago and used massive paydays to lure some of the sport's biggest names, including Smith, Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and others.
LIV introduced a new format through which players compete for both individual and team points and prize money.
“There is no question that the LIV model has been positively transformative for golf," said Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which operates LIV Golf. "We believe there are opportunities for the game to evolve while also maintaining its storied history and tradition."
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said: "After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love. ... 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."
Al-Rumayyan will be chairman of the new commercial group, and Monahan will serve as CEO.
The new business entity has not been named. The PGA Tour will appoint a majority of the board and hold a majority voting interest in the combined entity.
The joint effort will "implement a plan to grow these combined commercial businesses, drive greater fan engagement and accelerate growth initiatives already underway," the announcement said. "The new entity will work to ensure a cohesive schedule of events that will be exciting for fans, sponsors and all stakeholders."