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The PGA Tour-PIF framework agreement is out! But have we learned anything new?

The framework agreement of the PGA Tour and the Public Investment Fund's new deal has been made public, but are there unanswered questions that we still need resolving?
 

A key frustration for players, media and golf fans alike is the list of unanswered questions that still remain from the PGA Tour’s proposed merger with the Public Investment Fund.

We know the PGA Tour, the PIF and the DP World Tour intend to create a “global golf partnership” with this new alliance, and litigation between each party is set to end.

The hostility that’s divided the professional game is heading towards the finish line in a shocking turn of events that was even kept from Rory McIlroy until the morning it was announced.

PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan will become the chairman of the new entity and join the PGA Tour Policy Board, while Jay Monahan will remain as CEO of the tour and the new alliance.

All parties are committed to implementing an element of team golf, something LIV Golf has pushed since its birth, although the format of this new schedule is still unclear.

We also know each organisation is working together to “establish a fair and objective process” for players to reapply for PGA Tour and DP World Tour memberships, should they wish to take that option.

Monahan reiterated during the RBC Canadian Open the merger was the product of a framework agreement that still has many I’s to dot and T’s to cross.

However, the full framework agreement has now been leaked and obtained by a number of outlets.

The six-page document was signed on May 30 and Monahan and Al-Rumayyan appeared on television together one week later to announce the deal.

So, following the leak of the framework agreement, have we learned anything new about the PGA Tour’s merger with the PIF and the DP World Tour?

PGA Tour PIF

The name of this new entity

Throughout the framework agreement, the new entity is referred to as “NewCo.” This is the name of the for-profit LLC which each party will work to establish.

The PGA Tour and the DP World Tour will contribute their commercial businesses/rights, while the PIF will contribute their golf-related investments and assets which includes LIV Golf.

Will LIV Golf’s future be determined by the PGA Tour?

The PGA Tour has been named as the “competition manager for all of the tour’s golf-related commercial businesses and investments into NewCo.”

The PIF is set to provide the working capital required to operate LIV with their investment into NewCo and the PGA Tour will have “full decision-making authority with respect to all strategic and operational matters related to competition.”

All of the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and the PIF’s golf-related investments and commercial assets, including LIV Golf, will exist under one roof and NewCo’s board of directors will be predominantly appointed by the PGA Tour.

When the announcement of the merger was first made in Canada, Monahan alluded to “taking a competitor off the board” when asked about becoming involved with LIV Golf.

He also said the PGA Tour would still “be able to control the direction going forward,” perhaps referring to the “full decision-making authority” mentioned in the framework agreement.

Cooperation to secure OWGR points for LIV events

Under the subject line of “PGA Tour / DP World Tour and LIV to Co-exist” in the leaked framework agreement, section C stated each party will work together to allow LIV Golf events to obtain Official World Golf Ranking points.

“The parties will cooperate in good faith and use best efforts to secure OWGR recognition for LIV events and players under OWGR’s criteria for considering LIV’s pending application.”

LIV CEO Greg Norman has often vocalised his desire for the breakaway tour’s events to be granted OWGR legitimacy, with the likes of major champions Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka, and Dustin Johnson on the roster.

Sticking points such as average field sizes, 36-hole cuts, and a Q-school-type promotion structure are some of the hurdles LIV has had to consider in its application process.

However, now the new league has new allies in Monahan and DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley, who sit on the OWGR board along with representatives from the R&A, USGA, PGA of America, and the Masters, could LIV’s mission for OWGR points achieve success sooner than it was first imagined?

The Communications Committee is here

The framework agreement identifies a Communications Committee which is intended “to help facilitate a smooth business transition.”

The committee will “coordinate and manage communications between PIF, LIV and the PGA Tour” and will be co-chaired by PGA Tour Policy Board chairman Ed Herhily and an unnamed partner.

Jimmy Dunne, who was pivotal in striking the deal, will also be a member of this committee.

Both Dunne and Herhily were also named as part of the new Executive Committee of NewCo when the first announcement of the merger was made.

NOW READ: Richard Bland: I’d be surprised if Jay Monahan was in a job very soon

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PGA Tour PIF

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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