DETROIT — The PGA Tour sought to reassure players Tuesday that they will have a say in the tour’s new partnership with Saudi financiers of LIV Golf, as its policy board issued a statement saying any final agreement between players must be approved once and for all. Competition rounds.
The statement was issued after a meeting of the board of directors, which included five players: Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy, Charlie Hoffman, Peter Malnati and Webb Simpson.
Monday night, the media got to grips with the tour’s framework agreement with the Saudis, which said the PGA Tour and European Tour will work with their new partners to determine how defectors will return to LIV Golf and what type of punishment they should face.
The players were frustrated by the lack of detail in the framework agreement, which was negotiated in secret by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and two independent board members and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. As part of the deal, the tour and the Saudis agreed to dismiss all pending lawsuits.
“Entering a framework agreement put an end to costly litigation. Management has now begun, with input from our player managers, a new phase of negotiations to determine whether the Tour can reach a final agreement in the best interest of our players, fans, sponsors, partners and the game in general.”
“If future negotiations lead to a proposed agreement, it will need to be approved by the Tour Policy Council, which includes the player managers. In the meantime, we are all bound by the safeguards in the framework agreement that it will lead the PGA Tour and maintain control of this potential new business entity.”
The board met Tuesday ahead of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, which many top players are taking after a busy period that included last week’s US Open and Travelers Championship, one of the new events set on the $20 million purse tour schedule. McIlroy and Cantlay are not on the field at the Detroit Golf Club.
The framework agreement calls for the round and the Saudis to form a new business entity, now known only as the “new company”. It includes assurances that the round will retain a controlling interest in that entity.
The deal has caught the attention of Congress, with the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations scheduled to hold a hearing on July 11. Monahan is called to testify, but his availability is in question as he is on leave while dealing with a medical condition.