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News Every Day |

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan shuts down Saudi agreement rumors: “complex scenario”

Jay Monahan, PGA Tour, RBC Canadian Open
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan chats with Rory McIlroy ahead of the RBC Canadian Open. | Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Before the Travelers Championship, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan revealed that the agreement with the PIF still needs work.

CROMWELL, Conn. — Who knows when the PGA Tour will strike an agreement with the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), LIV Golf’s beneficiary. But one thing is certain: no deal will be made during this week’s Travelers Championship.

Speaking to reporters at TPC River Highlands, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan provided an update on negotiations without revealing anything the golfing world did not already know.

“There’s been a lot of news around our ongoing discussions with the PIF, Monahan said.

“I’m not going to negotiate in public, and I know [everyone is] eager to know more, but I will go back to the meeting that we had two Fridays ago in New York, where our entire Transaction Committee, including Tiger Woods and Adam Scott being in person and Rory [McIlroy] dialing in from the Memorial Tournament, alongside Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the Governor of the PIF and representatives of the PIF. It was a very productive discussion. As we’ve said, progress was made and we continue to be in regular dialog. I had a 10 o’clock call [Wednesday] morning with the PIF, and we’re doing that multiple times a week.”

Jay Monahan, PGA Tour, the Memorial Tournament Photo by Ben Jared/PGA Tour via Getty Images
Jay Monahan speaks at the 2024 Memorial Tournament.

At least talks with the PIF have taken place, which did not appear to be the case before the Players Championship in March.

“I would say to you that there were a lot of important aspects that we talked about in that meeting [in New York], aspects that will be important towards a final agreement that we got consensus on, and there are a number of areas that we recognize that we weren’t going to, but identified them, and that’s what we’re focused on, and that’s what we’re working on,” Monahan continued.

“So, my outlook for those discussions continues to be very positive.”

The negotiations between the PGA Tour and the PIF were further complicated by the addition of the tour’s new investor, the Strategic Sports Group (SSG), in February.

Before the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Monahan and the tour announced that SSG—a consortium of sports owners from around the country—agreed to invest $1.5 billion in the tour. This investment will give the tour much-needed capital amid rising costs, thanks in part to LIV Golf’s rise to prominence.

Of course, the PIF has over $700 billion in assets and has reportedly invested north of $1 billion into the PGA Tour’s rival circuit.

Nevertheless, SSG helped the tour establish an equity program for players, meaning top tour members will have massive stakes in its newly formed entity, PGA Tour Enterprises.

“All I can say is that when you have the likes of John Henry and Arthur Blank, Sam Kennedy, Andy Cohen, Joe Gorder, a lot of people that—some people are new to our sport, but have massive experience in sport and in the corporate world. When they say that this is one of the most complex scenarios that they have ever seen, I think that says a lot,” Monahan added.

“As it relates to whether or not the complexity is being underestimated, I think it’s only fair to say that unless you have a full context for everything that’s being discussed, it would be unreasonable for anyone to think that you would fully understand the complexity. There are a lot of different factors at play, but nobody who is having the conversation is unaware of the complexity, and everyone, I think, is embracing the fact that there are things, obstacles, and things you have to overcome in a complex situation. We have the right people around the table for us, and they do as well.”

Monahan provided one large word salad to reporters—a salad that continued no juice or any meat. Yet, the commissioner said that all involved are focused on getting to the right outcome, with players and fans in mind.

When that outcome comes about is anyone’s guess.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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