Golf: PGA Tour lands multi-billion dollar investment, casting doubt over LIV Golf merger

PGA tour.
PGA tour. Photo credit: Getty Images

The PGA Tour has secured a US$3 billion (NZ$4.8b) investment into a new for-profit entity from a consortium of US sports team owners as part of a deal that allows for co-investment from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, it said on Thursday (NZ time).

The deal with Strategic Sports Group will give the US-based circuit's players access to more than US$1.5 billion (NZ$2.4b) as equity owners in the new PGA Tour Enterprises.

"Today marks and important moment for the PGA Tour and fans of golf across the world," PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, who is CEO of the new enterprise, said in a news release.

"By making the PGA Tour members owners of their league, we strengthen the collective investment of our players in the success of the PGA Tour."

Monahan added that the deal would enhance the organization's ability to make the sport of golf more rewarding for players, tournaments, fans and partners.

The PGA Tour also said it is still negotiating with the PIF, which controls LIV Golf, on a potential future investment and both parties are working towards an ultimate agreement.

Jon Rahm signed with LIV Golf in December.
Jon Rahm signed with LIV Golf in December. Photo credit: Getty Images

According to the PGA Tour, SSG consented to an investment by PIF, subject to necessary regulatory review and approvals.

As part of the deal, nearly 200 PGA Tour members can access grants, which vest over time, that will be based on, among other things, career accomplishments and recent achievements.

"We were proud to vote in unanimous support of this historic partnership between PGA Tour Enterprises and SSG," said PGA Tour Player Directors Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson and Peter Malnati.

"It was incredibly important for us to create opportunities for the players of today and in the future to be more invested in their organization, both financially and strategically."

Last June, the PGA Tour, PIF and Europe-based DP World Tour announced a framework agreement to house their commercial operations in a for-profit entity called PGA Tour Enterprises.

As talks with the PIF dragged on, outside investor interest in the PGA Tour heated up by way of SSG.

SSG, a consortium led by Fenway Sports Group, will invest an initial $1.5 billion and provide strategic focus on maximizing revenue generation for the benefit of players and on finding opportunities to enhance the game of golf across the world.

"Our enthusiasm for this new venture stems from a very deep respect for this remarkable game and a firm belief in the expansive growth potential of the PGA Tour," said John Henry, principal owner of Fenway Sports Group and manager of the Strategic Sports Group.

"We are proud to partner with this historic institution and are eager to work with the PGA Tour and its many members to grow and strengthen the game of golf globally."