End to the great war in world golf. The American circuits (PGA Tour), European (DP World Tour) and the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), the body that regulates the groundbreaking Saudi golf league, LIV Golf, have announced on Tuesday in a surprising way an agreement to sign peace in the conflict that for more than a year has divided the sport in two and has opened a gap never seen before. The three major organizations will now form a unique partnership that will join forces to jointly exploit business and commercial rights around the world.
The PGA TOUR, DP World Tour and PIF announce landmark agreement to unify men's professional golf.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 6, 2023
This puts an end to a confrontation that was born in June 2022 and that split golf in half. On the one hand, the players who remained on the side of the traditional circuits, the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour, and, on the other, those who accepted the large bag of economic prizes (25 million at stake per appointment, 255 in the first full course) and a new sports model (tournaments of three days instead of four, appointments without cut and a modality by teams) to change shirts. In the first group, figures like Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas... In the second, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Cameron Smith, a handful of good cards signed by former player Greg Norman. Suddenly, against each other and golf divided into two formations. The rebels paid the consequences: they were excluded from their old circuits, some received economic fines (116,000 euros from the European tour) and sports fines (exclusions from tournaments) and stopped scoring in the world ranking, which meant an enormous difficulty to qualify for the big ones, for example. In the background, the impossibility that referents such as Sergio García could enroll in the European team of the Ryder, which celebrates its next edition in September in Rome. Faced with the Saudi millionaire (Eugenio López Chacarra won 4.75 million for a tournament in Bangkok shortly after ceasing to be amateur), the PGA Tour responded with the same coin, increasing considerably, up to 25 million per appointment, the money that was distributed in the most outstanding tournaments, and forcing the big stars to play much of the same great competitions.
The situation had reached a point of maximum conflict and continuous confrontation. Jon Rahm himself publicly lamented a few days ago, before the Memorial Tournament, this war: "The Ryder Cup is the best Europeans against the best Americans, period. And whatever happens, it shouldn't matter to me who plays or doesn't play at LIV Golf." The Basque was especially hurt by the absence of Sergio Garcia, the top scorer in the history of the biennial duel against the United States.
And suddenly, when nobody expected it, with the Saudi league in its second season (Valderrama hosts from June 30 to July 2 an appointment of LIV Golf, the first in Spain), peace has arrived. The agreement will close the various legal disputes between the two sides, and will open the door to the return of those players who wish to join this new scenario, returning to their old home. "After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love," said current PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan. "This transformative partnership recognizes the immeasurable strength of the history, legacy and competitive model of the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour and LIV – including the concept of team golf – to create an organization that will benefit golfers, sponsors, supporters and fans."
"The LIV model has transformed golf. We are proud to partner with the PGA TOUR to build on PIF's unprecedented success and track record of unlocking value and bringing innovation and global best practices to businesses and industries around the world. We are committed to unifying, promoting and growing the game of golf around the world and offering a product of the highest quality," said Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Governor of the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund. Keith Pelley, executive director of the European circuit, has also expressed the conditions for the return of the escapees. "The first thing that has to happen is that they ask for their re-entry into the circuit, the second thing is that they pay the fine and comply with the sanction imposed on them and the next thing will be to make a decision analyzing each case." At that moment is Sergio Garcia.
From now on, the three parties will work on a cohesive calendar of tournaments throughout the season, and PIF will initially be the main investor in the new entity. In return, the PGA Tour will appoint the majority of the board of directors and hold a majority of voting rights. This board of directors will have Al-Rumayyan as president and Monahan as executive director. That is, a cake distributed in the offices and a united golf on the course, with the players of the two sides again competing together, with the Ryder on the pedestal and without the need for painful resignations, without more sanctions or exclusions. In the midst of the great war, peace.
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