DP World Tour player unrest following PGA Tour’s historic agreement

Bernie McGuire
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Pablo Larrazabal (Photo by Shaun Roy/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images)

Bernie McGuire

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No sooner did we learn news the PGA Tour and the Strategic Sports Group (SSG) have reached an historic agreement that will see SSG, a consortium of investors and sports franchise owners, infusing up to $3 billion into the Tour and the is deal was being questioned by three top DP World Tour members.

The agreement will result in the launch of PGA Tour Enterprises, a commercial venture under the PGA Tour’s control. Players will have equity in the new company, also a first in PGA Tour history.

However, the news clearly does not sit well with the likes of Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal, new PGA Tour member Robert MacIntyre and England’s Richard Mansell.

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The trio took to their ‘X’ accounts before DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley responded to the PGA Tour news by emailing all DP World Tour members.

Pelley was swift in his attempt to assuage any fears. In a newsletter emailed to members he said: “As DP World Tour members you will rightly pose the question, what does this mean for us?  Let me outline some thoughts.

“First thing to say is that the game of golf as we know it is changing and I believe this provides the opportunity for unity.

“Secondly, as it says in the press release, negotiations involving ourselves, the PGA Tour and the PIF are still on-going and I believe the announcement gives continued momentum to those discussions as well as being an important step to possible overall alignment between all four entities, SSG included.

“Thirdly, the SSG, led by their principal investor, the Fenway Sports Group (FSG), are unquestionably impacted in the US but more importantly, they have a distinct global focus – it is the reason FSG became owners of Liverpool Football Club in 2010 for example.

“Such global focus, as I outlined to the media and to many players during my recent two weeks in Dubai, is crucial to the forward momentum of the game and it is important that this latest entrant into our sport has this as part of their thinking.

“Finally for the avoidance of any doubt, our current Strategic Alliance with the PGA Tour which guarantees our prize funds and the Ten Cards initiative, remains firmly in place”.

Pelley rounded off his 15-paragraph note to members singing the praise of the Ten Cards initiative and praising the French media for their coverage of Matthieu Pavon’s Farmers Insurance Open success, adding that Pavon’s triumph will add to the impact of his return to contest the French Open in October.

Larrazabal then responded to Pelley’s message with the following ‘X’ comment:

You could argue all is not well among the rank-and-file competing on the DP World Tour but there’s no questioning Pelley’s intent to keep members informed.

Of course, there will be many more questions to come, including where the PIF now stands in finally ending the hostilities we’ve seen in the men’s professional game.

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