Gulf Today

PGA Tour, Saudi talks accelerati­ng, says Monahan


MIAMI: PGA Tour chief Jay Monahan said on Tuesday talks with the Saudi Arabian backers of LIV golf were “accelerati­ng” but was tight-lipped on how the proposed joint venture between the two bodies would work.

Speaking to reporters ahead of this week’s Players Championsh­ip, Monahan said negotiatio­ns with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) were progressin­g.

However Monahan said several “key issues” remained to be resolved and that hammering out a deal would “take time”.

“As I’ve said on a number of occasions, you can’t negotiate a deal like this in public, so I will be brief,” Monahan said.

“I recently met with the governor of the PIF, Yasir Al-rumayyan, and our negotiatio­ns are accelerati­ng as we spend time together.

“While we have several key issues that we still need to work through, we have a shared vision to quiet the noise and unlock golf’s worldwide potential.”

The emergence of the Saudi-funded LIV golf, which has lured top PGA Tour players with huge signing on fees and lucrative limited field tournament­s, plunged golf into a biter civil war.

Monahan however shocked the sporting world last June by announcing that the PGA Tour had agreed a tie-up with LIV’S backers, the PIF, in a stunning U-turn that followed secret negotiatio­ns.

The precise detail of how the new venture between the PGA Tour and PIF will work remains shrouded in mystery. An initial December 2023 deadline to agree a deal came and went as negotiatio­ns continue.

Since then more players have let the PGA Tour to join LIV, most notably Spanish star Jon Rahm, the reigning Masters champion who opted to join the upstart circuit in December.

Monahan, who has faced criticism for his handling of the crisis, declined to comment on the question of whether players who let for LIV would be welcomed back to the PGA Tour.

“Like I said, we’ve made and continue to make real progress in our negotiatio­ns and our discussion­s with the PIF,” Monahan said. “I recognize that this is frustratin­g for all of you, but it really is not in the best interest of the PGA Tour and our membership and for PIF for me to be talking about where we are with specific elements of our discussion­s.

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