Monahan’s late New Year’s Eve memo to PGA members says there’s been ‘meaningful progress’.

Fatiha Betscher

Jay Monahan the Commissioner of The PGA Tour (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Fatiha Betscher

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It was 5pm US east coast time on 31st December, 2023 and just seven hours ahead of last June’s promised deadline for full details of a landmark commercial deal that would hopefully end the biggest controversy in the men’s professional game.

And with just seven hours to midnight when Commissioner Jay Monahan thought it proper to update the Tour members with a memo.

In his memo, Monahan assured the rank-and-file there has been “meaningful progress” with the Strategic Sports Group, a consortium of American-based professional sports teams owners led by Fenway Sports Group that could inject around $3 billion into the PGA Tour for equity.

“I wanted to provide an update on our negotiations with Strategic Sports Group (SSG), the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and DP World Tour,” Monahan wrote.

“As you know, the [PGA Tour policy] Board unanimously directed management to pursue exclusive negotiations with SSG. 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 finalisation of terms and drafts of necessary documents.

“We also continue our active and productive conversations with PIF and the DP World Tour. While we had initially set a deadline of December 31, 2023, to reach an agreement, we are working to extend our negotiations into next year based on the progress we have made to date.

“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. These partnerships will allow us to unify, innovate and invest in the game for the benefit of players, fans and sponsors.”

Far more complicated are the also on-going negotiations with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the financial supporters of the rival LIV Golf League, and with the rival tour soon set to kick-start a third season.

Under the framework agreement, PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan would have a seat on the PGA Tour board. The agreement also included PGA Tour Enterprises doing an “objective, empirical-driven evaluation” of LIV and to determine if team golf can be integrated into the PGA Tour and European tour.

It also was to determine a “fair and objective” process for LIV players who might want to return to the PGA Tour or European tour, which is said to be a sticking point because of the players who turned down Saudi riches to remain on the PGA Tour.

The new January to December PGA Tour season kick-starts this Thursday at The Sentry on Maui in Hawaii, and the first of eight “signature” and limited field events carrying a $US20 million purse.

Somewhat disappointingly, the renamed ‘winners only’ event will not be featuring defending champion Jon Rahm in a field of 59.

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