PGA Tour Merges with LIV Golf

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(Image credit: PGA Tour)

NEW YORK; RIYADH; PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla.—In a surprise move that follows months of bitter litigation between Saudi-backed LIV Golf and the PGA, the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and the Public Investment Fund (PIF) have announced a landmark agreement to merge PIF’s golf-related commercial businesses and rights (including LIV Golf) with the commercial businesses and rights of the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour. 

The landmark agreement to unify golf on a global basis will create a new, as yet unnamed, collectively owned, for-profit entity that will manage all of those businesses and rights. In addition, PIF has agreed to make a capital investment into the new entity to facilitate its growth and success, the companies reported. 

In the U.S. the CW Network, which is 75% owned by Nexstar, has a multi-year agreement to air LIV Golf. In response to a question about the impact of the deal, a Nexstar spokesperson said: “This is exciting day to unify and grow the game of golf. There is no change to the LIV Golf event schedule for 2023 on The CW. We look forward to broadcasting seven more exciting tournaments this year featuring the world's best golfers.”

As part of the agreement, the parties have also agreed to end all pending litigation and promised to work together to "establish a fair and objective process for any players who desire to re-apply for membership with the PGA TOUR or the DP World Tour following the completion of the 2023 season and for determining fair criteria and terms of re-admission, consistent with each Tour’s policies," the PGA said. 

“After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love,” said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. “This transformational partnership recognizes the immeasurable strength of the PGA TOUR’s history, legacy and pro-competitive model and combines with it the DP World Tour and LIV – including the team golf concept – to create an organization that will benefit golf’s players, commercial and charitable partners and fans. Going forward, fans can be confident that we will, collectively, deliver on the promise we’ve always made – to promote competition of the best in professional golf and that we are committed to securing and driving the game’s future."

“We are pleased to move forward, in step with LIV and PIF’s world-class investing experience, and I applaud PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan for his vision and collaborative and forward-thinking approach that is not just a solution to the rift in our game, but also a commitment to taking it to new heights," the PGA commissioner continued. "This will engender a new era in global golf, for the better.”

“Today is a very exciting day for this special game and the people it touches around the world,” said PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan. “We are proud to partner with the PGA TOUR to leverage PIF’s unparalleled success and track record of unlocking value and bringing innovation and global best practices to business and sectors worldwide. We are committed to unifying, promoting and growing the game of golf around the world and offering the highest-quality product to the many millions of long-time fans globally, while cultivating new fans."

A number of details, however, still need to be finalized. The merger announcement noted that "all parties will work in the months to come to finalize terms of the agreement, with details to be announced in due course."

All parties will work in the months to come to finalize terms of the agreement, with details to be announced in due course.

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.