ORLANDO, Florida – In a stunning announcement the PGA Tour along with the DP Tour will merge with the Saudi backed startup competitor LIV golf creating a global for-profit golfing powerhouse.
The tentative agreement will end all pending litigation between the parties and will “establish a fair and objective process” for players who defected from the PGA Tour to reapply for membership after this season.
The deal will create 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 per the organizations.
The stunning announcement came after months of pointed rhetoric and hard feelings, and amid ongoing litigation between LIV and the PGA Tour, which both had filed lawsuits against the other.
The PGA Tour made the shock announcement on Tuesday morning, saying a new partnership between LIV and the DP World Tour would “unify the game of golf.”
“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,” the statement read.
The LIV Golf series, backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), officially launched in June 2022, with participating players subsequently barred from competing in PGA Tour events.
The two rival tours have since been involved in a series of legal disputes, with all pending litigation mutually ended under the new agreement. “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.
“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.”
It will be interesting to see just how these mergers will play out, as there is certainly a “lot of water over the dam” between a number of players in all three of these leagues. A lot will have to do with the public perception of the merger and if the agreement can survive the number of accusations made against the LIV over the past year and a half.
This breaking news story is shaping up to be the sports story of the year but as always, “There’s always a Devil in the details.”