The framework agreement between the PGA Tour and the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) was made public Monday, per a report from The Athletic.
Within this six-page document, executed on May 30, 2023, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, and DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley agreed to form a new entity, currently referred to as “NewCo” throughout the agreement.
NewCo being the unnamed company. That was all known though. What was not known is potentially groundbreaking.
PGA Tour Commissioner holds all the cards with regard to the future of LIV Golf. But there is language in the agreement that lends itself to the rival tour living beyond the deal.
The parties will “cooperate in good faith and use best efforts to secure [Official World Golf Ranking] recognition for LIV events,” meaning that LIV golfers may receive OWGR points at some point in the future.
That has been a point of contention among many of the dissenting golfers. They have watched as their OWGR continued to slide, which affects their qualification status for major championships.
The sport of golf and the reputation of those that play it are defined by the Masters, the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open and the Open Championship.
Earlier this week, LIV Golf announced their plans to incorporate relegation as part of their plans for 2024. Golfers who rank below are certain level of play can/will be dropped by their teams. That was another strong indicator that the entity could live beyond this season.
LIV Golf may cease to exist. Or it may continue well into the future, as current CEO Greg Norman has touted numerous times.
But LIV’s future rests in Monahan’s hands, as the PGA Tour will be “the competition manager for NewCo,” per the agreement.
“NewCo will undertake a full and objective empirical data-driven evaluation of LIV and its prospects and potential and will make a good faith assessment of the benefits of team golf in general,” the agreement reads.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Brooks Koepka plays a second shot on the 17th hole as fans look on during the final round of the 2023 PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club on May 21, 2023.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Monahan, the PGA Tour, PIF, and DP World Tour “will work cooperatively and in good faith to establish a fair and objective process for any players who desire to re-apply for membership within the PGA Tour or the DP World Tour following the completion of the 2023 season.”
For now, LIV Golf, the PGA Tour, and DP World Tours will continue to finish their respective 2023 schedules.
Yet, a lot of unknowns remain, and many concrete pieces for the future still need to be put into place.
Because of this, a committee will be established to facilitate communications between PIF, LIV, and the PGA Tour, per Section 3 of the agreement.
But the world knows NewCo will be a for-profit LLC, a stark contrast from the PGA Tour’s current designation as a 501 (c)(6) not-for-profit organization.
How that impacts the current structure of the PGA Tour is also unknown.
Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @jack_milko for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.