PGA Tour outlines plan for $1.5B in new funding

The PGA Tour plans to distribute about 80% of $930 million worth of initial player equity grants in its newly formed company, PGA Tour Enterprises, to 36 top golfers based on career performance, results over the past five seasons and Player Impact Program results, commissioner Jay Monahan told members in a memo on Wednesday.

The memo, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN, details how the PGA Tour plans to spend the $1.5 billion that Strategic Sports Group (SSG), a consortium of billionaire sports team owners, are infusing in PGA Tour Enterprises, a for-profit entity.

The PGA Tour and SSG announced last week that they had reached an agreement in which SSG would invest up to $3 billion into the new company. In the memo, Monahan said one of the results of the SSG partnership was an equity program, “where PGA Tour members will have the opportunity to become direct equity owners in their own sports league — a first-ever step forward in global sport.”

Monahan told PGA Tour members that the Player Equity Program will grant over $1.5 billion in equity in PGA Tour Enterprises to past, current and future members over the next several years. Monahan wrote that the program is designed to “reward top performing members and incentivize them to support and build PGA Tour Enterprises in the future; provide a reward to a substantial portion of the current PGA Tour membership; and provide a reward to legends who helped build the modern PGA Tour.”

Under the plan, $930 million in initial player equity grants will be awarded to 193 PGA Tour members who will fall in one of four categories:

  • Group 1 will consist of the top 36 players who will share $750 million in aggregate equity based on career performance, last five-year performance and Player Impact Program (PIP) results.

  • Group 2 will include 64 players who will share $75 million in aggregate equity based on last three-year performance.

  • Group 3 will consist of 57 players who have earned fully exempt PGA Tour status and who will share $30 million in aggregate equity.

  • Group 4 will include 36 players who were instrumental in building the modern PGA Tour, based on career performance. They will share $75 million in aggregate equity.

In the memo, Monahan said players will only receive one initial grant and that they will vest over time, which will require minimum participation, such as playing 15 or more events on the PGA Tour each season and/or “service requirements commensurate with the values of the grant.”

The tour will also award recurring player equity grants, which will be incremental to the initial grants, and will be worth an aggregate amount of $600 million. Those grants will be awarded in $100 million totals each year, beginning in 2025 and through at least the 2030 season.

“It is important to note that all PGA Tour members are eligible to receive recurring grants — regardless of whether or not they received an initial grant,” Monahan wrote in the memo. “These recurring grants will reward future top performers and will be based on last 3-year performance, last year performance and Player Impact Program results.”

Monahan said the tour hoped to finish completing its legal and regulatory requirements by mid-March and that players would be informed of their individual equity issuances “immediately thereafter.”

“We are excited about this historic moment in PGA Tour history, and I look forward to partnering with each and every player as we grow the PGA Tour now and in the future,” Monahan wrote.

The tour said in a news release last week that the deal with SSG allows for a co-investment from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, subject to all necessary regulatory approvals.

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