Future for elite golf ‘murky’ with PGA Tour-Saudi alliance in limbo

2 months ago 134

One of the most significant moments in golf history has set the stage for an uncertain future as the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) scramble to finalize their partnership ahead of a Dec. 31 deadline.

What lies ahead is anyone's guess but the longer the talks go on, the less time the sides will have to implement any plan in time for 2025, if that is even the ultimate goal.

"I would say that the answer is murky," 15-times major champion Tiger Woods, who joined the PGA Tour policy board in August, told reporters when asked what the professional golf landscape would look like in a year or two.

"There's a lot of moving parts on how we're going to play. Whether it's here on the PGA Tour or it's merging, or team golf. There's a lot of different aspects that are being thrown out there all at once."

After a year of acrimony, the two parties and Europe-based DP World Tour announced in June a bombshell framework agreement to house their commercial operations in a new entity. PIF, the main financial backer of LIV Golf, would serve as the exclusive investor.

The announcement, which brought an end to legal battles between the parties but triggered antitrust concerns from U.S. regulators, also called for a definitive agreement to be reached by Dec. 31, although the sides can agree to extend the deadline.

The agreement with the PIF also raised concerns in Washington from lawmakers who are mistrustful of Saudi Arabia and critical of the country's human rights record.

"I am confident a deal will get done in some way," said Woods. "Whether that comes December 31st or is pushed back, all sides understand we're working together.

"There are no lawsuits. ... Everyone's working right now with no animosity. We're trying to work to try and get a deal done for the tour and for all parties involved."

For now, the tours will run independently, with LIV Golf holding the majority of its 14-event 2024 season outside the United States and the PGA Tour returning to a calendar-year schedule for the first time since 2012.

The PGA Tour will also unveil a radical new approach during its 2024 season as five of its e...

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