PGA Tour-LIV Golf

Jay Monahan confirms 'constructive' meeting with PIF, LIV Golf head Yasir Al-Rumayyan

March 19, 2024
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Luke Walker/WME IMG

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan confirmed to membership in a memo on Monday night that he and player directors met with Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund governor and chairman of LIV Golf Yasir Al-Rumayyan earlier in the day.

The meeting, which was first reported by Golfweek and confirmed by several player directors during the Players Championship, took place in the Bahamas, as several flight-tracker sites noted planes owned by the tour, PIF and John Henry of Fenway Sports (one of the primary partners of the tour’s new private-equity investor, the Strategic Sports Group) congregated in Albany.

Monahan did not provide any details on the rendezvous, only stating the conversation was “constructive and represents an important part of our due diligence process in selecting potential investors for PGA Tour Enterprises.”

“This mirrors the approach we employed earlier this year as we evaluated an investment offer from the Strategic Sports Group,” Monahan wrote. “During the session, Yasir had a chance to introduce himself to our player directors and talk through his vision, priorities and motivations for investing in professional golf.

"As we continue these discussions with the PIF, we will keep you updated as much as possible, but please understand that we need to maintain our position of not conducting negotiations in public. To that end, we will provide no further comments to the media at this time."

The vagueness is not unexpected. During his annual “State of the Tour” address at TPC Sawgrass, Monahan said that while negotiations are ongoing with PIF there likely wouldn’t be any substantive updates anytime soon. "I recognize that this is frustrating for all of you, but it really is not in the best interest of the PGA Tour and our membership and for PIF for me to be talking about where we are with specific elements of our discussions,” Monahan said. "I would just stress the fact that we're engaged, we're making progress. But I'm really not at liberty to share any of the details on that front."

Many of the player directors had yet to meet with Al-Rumayyan since the tour’s surprise framework agreement with LIV. The tour’s power structure has slightly changed following the initial deal that was proposed, with measures taken to both ensure more transparency to players while giving players more control of their tour’s future. Additionally, the tour now has supplemental investment thanks to its partnership with SSG. Though the tour announced in January that the deal with SSG will allow for co-investment from PIF in the future, there are antitrust regulations that need to be hurdled, and Congress has announced that its investigation into PIF and its investments in American businesses will continue.

Talks had stalled between the PIF and tour, with PIF’s renewed recruiting of tour players—highlighted by the December defection of Jon Rahm to LIV—and the tour’s private-equity courtship leading to hurt feelings on both sides. The initial framework deal called for an official pact by Dec. 31, 2023, although both the tour and PIF agreed to extend the conversations. There is no public deadline for a new deal.