He PGA Tourhe European Tour and the LIV Golf circuit Saudi-backed rivals announced a landmark deal on Tuesday to merge and form a business entity to unify golf and work to put together a joint calendar.
The agreement, which has surprised most players, occurs when the LIFE Golf headed into its second season with more strength than ever, opening up to new scenarios such as the tournament that will be held in the Cádiz field of Valderrama, between June 30 and July 2, which was going to be the first appointment of the Saudi circuit in Spain.
The new entity, whose name is still unknown, ends the huge differences and legal battles that kept the PGA Tour, el DP World Tour y el LIV, both between the entities and between the players who changed the circuit. The three circuits described the pact as “a historic agreement to unify the game of golf worldwide.”
The PGA TOUR, DP World Tour and PIF announce a historic agreement to unify professional golf.
— PGATOUResp (@pgatouresp) June 6, 2023
The announcement ends a war that divided the sport after the creation of the LIV in 2022, financed with public funds from Saudi Arabia. The majority of players remained faithful to the traditional circuits, among them Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy o Jordan Spieth. But some bet on the break, popular figures like Phil Mickelson, Sergio García o Dustin Johnson, that they were forced to give up their card on the US circuit and also their participation in the Ryder Cup, which pits teams from the US and Europe every two years.
Despite numerous criticisms of the Saudi circuit since its inception, especially for the country’s lack of respect for human rights, the LIV has attracted some of the biggest names in the US circuit with multi-million dollar offers, including two recent Grand Slam winners: the winner of the last PGA, Brooks Koepka or the Australian Cameron Smith. winner of the last British Open.
“They were going their way, we were going ours, and after a lot of introspection you realize that all this tension in the game was not good at all. After two years of interruptions and distractions, this is a historic day,” he said. Jay Monahancommissioner of the PGA Tour, in a press release.
“This transformative partnership recognizes the immeasurable strength of the PGA Tour’s history, legacy and pro-competitive model and combines with it the DP World Tour y LIVincluding the concept of team golf, to create an organization that will benefit golfers, commercial and charitable, members and fans,” he added. Monahan.
Business and rights sharing
The agreement supposes the formation of a ‘joint venture’ to manage the business and the commercial rights of the circuit that will be born from the merger of the three. Although the percentage of shareholders that will control each circuit is unknown, it is certain that the largest shareholder will be the PIFthe sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia.
Yasir Al Rumayyan, The governor of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund was also happy about an agreement that ends the open war between the circuits. “We are committed to unifying, promoting and growing golf around the world by providing the highest quality product to millions of lifelong fans while cultivating new fans. There is no doubt that the LIV model has been positively transformative for golf. We believe there are opportunities for this sport to evolve while maintaining its tradition and history,” he said. Al-Rumayyanwho will serve as president of the new board of directors that will emerge from the merger, while Monahan will serve as executive director.
Al-Rumayyan He made it clear that the players who left both the American and European circuits to join the IV will be able to make their way back. “All parties will work in the coming months to finalize the terms of the agreement with details to be announced in due course,” they said.
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