PGA Tour to merge with Saudi-backed LIV Golf under single ownership


(NEW YORK) — The PGA Tour has announced it will be merging operations under a single owner with its rival, the Saudi-backed LIV Golf, as well as the DP World Tour, formerly known as the European Tour.

“After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement. “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 continued, “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 controversial Saudi Public Investment Fund will make an investment into the new merged company “to facilitate its growth and success.” The new company does not yet have a name, according to the press release.

The upstart LIV Golf league had been locked in a heat rivalry over the top golfers in the world. Players like Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau took the guaranteed money from LIV Golf, while players like Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods pledged to remain with the long-established PGA Tour. Players on the LIV Golf tour signed contracts, similar to football or baseball, that paid them regardless of their performance in tournaments. On the PGA Tour, players competed for money in tournaments.

Dustin Johnson, who won two majors and 24 PGA tournaments, jumped to the LIV Golf tour in June 2022 for a reported $150 million. He’s made millions more in individual tournaments.

As part of the agreement, the sides agreed to mutually end all pending litigation. The PGA Tour had filed a federal lawsuit in October against Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, while LIV Golf players had filed a federal antitrust last August after the PGA Tour threatened to prevent LIV Golf players from competing in the four majors.

“There is no question that the LIV model has been positively transformative for golf,” PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan said in a statement. “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.”

A board of directors will “oversee and direct all the new entity’s golf-related commercial operations, businesses and investments,” according to the statement announcing the merger. Al-Rumayyan will be named chairman of the board, while Monahan will become the CEO.

The terms of the agreement have yet to be finalized.

“This is a momentous day,” Keith Pelley, chief executive of the DP World Tour, said in a statement. “We are delighted to be able to not only reignite our relationship with PIF, but also to have the opportunity to build on our current Strategic Alliance partnership with the PGA TOUR.”

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