As part of the PGA Tour and LIV Golf merger, the two sides will end all pending litigation. What happens next will be unprecedented for the game.
They have come to a deal that will combine the PGA Tour and LIV into a single, for-profit entity under a yet-to-be-determined name. The deal will also include the DP World Tour, the European branch of the PGA Tour.
The merger, which CNBC first reported, comes despite a pending antitrust case between the two parties. Several former PGA Tour golfers, most notably Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, and Bryson DeChambeau, first brought the suit against the PGA Tour after it banned them from tour events. As Boardroom’s Daniel Marcus detailed, the golfers assert that in doing so, the organization was illegally exerting its influence, both breaching their contracts and violating federal antitrust laws.
As part of the deal, the two sides will dissolve all pending litigation.
While we wait for details to emerge, the move is sure to draw its share of criticism from golf fans. With Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund backing LIV Golf, a merger would irrevocably put the PGA Tour into bed with certain individuals with questionable ties and an expanding portfolio of sports-washing endeavors.
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the Public Investment Fund is expected to invest billions of new capital into the merger, CNBC reports.
Reading this, it looks like Saudi Arabia just bought golf. Has there been a takeover of an entire sport happened before? pic.twitter.com/1wnR45SJXD— tariq panja (@tariqpanja) June 6, 2023
For his part, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is choosing to focus on the on-course product and the growth of the sport. As he said in a press release:
“After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love. This transformational partnership recognizes the immeasurable strength of the PGA Tour 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.”
The release also detailed that the PIF will have the exclusive right to further invest in the new association. That gives them a right of first refusal on any capital that may be invested. The PGA Tour, meanwhile, will appoint a majority of the Board of Directors and hold a majority voting interest.
The full Board of Directors will be announced at a later date, but PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan will serve as Chairman and Monahan will be CEO.
Expect more details to come soon.
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