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After a year-plus of distancing itself from LIV Golf, the PGA Tour has reportedly agreed to merge with the Saudi-backed circuit. The merger will end all pending litigations, many of which were based on antitrust claims, between the two sides.
Sources close to negotiations told Fox on Tuesday that a new partnership between the Tour, LIV Golf, and DP World Tour “are entering into a new, landmark partnership and merging all of their businesses into a new, collectively owned, for-profit entity.”
The Saudi Public Investment Fund will reportedly be the “exclusive investor” into the new venture.
According to CNBC, the two sides’ signed agreement would combine the PGA Tour and LIV Golf’s commercial business and right into a new, to-be-named company.
PGA Tour Confirms Its Merger With LIV Golf
The PGA Tour confirmed all reports with a statement of its own shortly after the initial news made waves.
“The PGA TOUR, DP World Tour and the Public Investment Fund (PIF) today announced a landmark agreement to unify the game of golf, on a global basis,” the statement bega:
“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.”
As this reads, LIV Golf will technically be dissolved while the PIF has now picked up a very large seat at the table when it comes to the operations of the PGA Tour.
The Tour also confirmed the Saudi Public Investment’s capital investment into the new partnership:
“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.”
“Notably, today’s announcement will be followed by a mutually agreed end to all pending litigation between the participating parties.”
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan reflected on the “two years of disruption and distraction” that took place between both sides:
“After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love,” Monahan said. “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.”
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris