Saudi Arabia

In “Stunning Move”, PGA Tour And Saudi-Backed LIV Golf Agree To Merge

In what the WSJ has dubbed a “stunning move”, the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed upstart that sent the industry into chaos when it teed off last year, have agreed to a merger that ends the divide that has dominated the sport for the last year. The agreement includes DP World Tour, also known as the European PGA Tour.

“After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love,” PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement.

The merger will end all pending litigation, and the two leagues will combine their commercial businesses into a new, yet-to-be-named company, according to CNBC, which adds the following:

  • LIV Golf is backed by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, an entity controlled by the Saudi crown prince and has been embroiled in antitrust lawsuits with the PGA Tour in the last year. The deal announced Tuesday would end all pending litigation.
  • PIF is prepared to invest billions of new capital into the new entity, CNBC’S David Faber reported on Tuesday. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
  • As part of the agreement, the three groups will establish “a fair and objective process for any players who want to re-apply for membership with the PGA Tour or DP World Tour” following the end of the 2023 season, according to a release.

The parties said that the agreement combines the golf-related business from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund with the commercial and business rights of the PGA Tour and European Tour into a new, collectively owned for-profit entity.

The deal comes soon after LIV golfer Brooks Koepka won the PGA Championship, one of four major titles in men’s golf.

LIV Golf, which has been spending top dollar to lure golfers, has also been the subject of controversy and criticism. Family members of those that perished in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have protested the league, including outside of events. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11 were from Saudi Arabia, and Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the attacks, was born in the country. It has been concluded by U.S. officials that Saudi nationals helped fund the terrorist group al-Qaida, although investigations didn’t find that the Saudi officials were complicit in the attacks.

Former President Donald Trump has hosted a number of LIV Golf events at his golf courses. He has defended being the host of events, falsely claiming that “nobody’s gotten to the bottom of 9/11.” Last year, Trump also said on Truth Social that a merger between LIV and The PGA Tour was inevitable.

On Tuesday, Trump weighed in on the merger on his Truth Social platform: “Great news from LIV Golf. A big, beautiful, and glamorous deal for the wonderful world of golf. Congrats to all!!!”

And in markets, shares of Topgolf Callaway Brands and Acushnet jumped to session highs on the news. 

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