THE PGA Tour and DP World Tour announced on Tuesday that they have merged their commercial operations with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf and ended all litigation, bringing to a close the sport’s two-year rift.
The US-based PGA Tour said they had “signed an agreement that combines PIF’s (Saudi Public Investment Fund'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”.
LIV Golf was launched in October 2021 and lured top PGA Tour talent with record $25 million (RM115 million) purses and money guarantees. The competition is currently in its second season.
The PGA Tour responded to the emergence of a rival tour by banning LIV players while the DP World Tour has handed out heavy fines to its players.
The rift had led to a series of lawsuits and caused acrimony between players.
“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,” he added.
The name of the new merged entity and the precise structure of the tours has yet to be announced but the PGA Tour said that the parties had agreed to “establish a fair and objective process for any players who desire to re-apply for membership with the PGA Tour or the DP World Tour following the completion of the 2023 season”.
While both the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour issued statements, there was no separate statement from LIV but the PGA Tour included comments from PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan.
“Today is a very exciting day for this special game and the people it touches around the world,” said Al-Rumayyan.
“We are proud to partner with the PGA TOUR to leverage PIF’s unparallelled success and track record of unlocking value and bringing innovation and global best practices to business and sectors worldwide.
“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,” he said. – AFP