Memo: PGA Tour, PIF talks evolve; SSG deal near

The PGA Tour is working to extend its negotiations with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to form a new for-profit entity, tour commissioner Jay Monahan told golfers in a memo Sunday.

The surprising alliance, which was announced June 6, had a framework agreement that was scheduled to expire Sunday. Monahan, however, said in the memo that the sides are working to extend negotiations into 2024 based on progress made in the talks.

Monahan said the PGA Tour was close to finalizing a deal with Strategic Sports Group (SSG), a consortium of billionaire team owners that includes Tom Werner and John Henry (Boston Red Sox), Arthur Blank (Atlanta Falcons) and Wyc Grousbeck (Boston Celtics), and that the PGA Tour hopes to have SSG, the PIF and DP World Tour as minority investors in the new for-profit, PGA Tour Enterprises.

“As you know, the [PGA Tour policy board] unanimously directed management to pursue exclusive negotiations with SSG,” Monahan wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN. “I am pleased to report that we have made meaningful progress and have provided SSG with the due diligence information they requested. As we move forward in our discussions, we are focused on the finalization of terms and drafts of necessary documents.”

ESPN previously reported that the deal with SSG would infuse more than $3 billion into PGA Tour Enterprises, according to sources. If a deal is reached with both SSG and the PIF, more than $7 billion might be invested into PGA Tour Enterprises, which would combine the commercial assets of the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and PIF, including the rival LIV Golf League.

Under the terms of the agreements, the PGA Tour would retain control of the new for-profit entity.

“Our goal for 2024 is to reach agreements with SSG, PIF and the DP World Tour, bringing them on board as minority co-investors in PGA Tour Enterprises,” Monahan wrote. “These partnerships will allow us to unify, innovate and invest in the game for the benefit of players, fans and sponsors.”

The potential deals would stabilize a fractured sport that has been stung by player defections, a federal antitrust lawsuit and skyrocketing operational costs as the rival circuits have battled for the best golfers in the world over the past two years.

The LIV Golf League poached Spain’s Jon Rahm on Dec. 7 with a multi-year contract worth more than $300 million, according to sources. Sources told ESPN that LIV Golf is actively recruiting other PGA Tour players to fill out a new team that will be captained by Rahm during the 2024 season.

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