PGA Tour chief Jay Monahan ‘reveals he was shocked by LIV Golf merger as he couldn’t afford to continue battling unlimited Saudi PIF money’
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Commissioner Jay Monahan told employees the PGA Tour simply could not afford to continue battling the Saudi-backed LIV Golf League after the two tours’ shock merger.
Monahan, 53, said the tour was spending tens of millions in its legal fight with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) while increasing its own scholarships to help prevent other players from defecting to the rival circuit.
Monahan made the remarks during a meeting Thursday at the PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
He said the fight was not sustainable against a Saudi sovereign wealth fund that is believed to have more than $600 billion in assets.
The meeting came two days after the PGA Tour’s shock announcement that it had formed an alliance with the DP World Tour and the Public Investment Fund.
Clerk. Jay Monahan shared the PGA Tour couldn’t afford to compete with LIV in court
The PGA Tour was spending tens of millions in legal costs while increasing its own purses to help prevent other players from defecting to LIV Golf
Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, will be PGA’s CEO once the merger is officially completed
‘We can’t compete with a foreign government with unlimited money,” Monahan told employees, according to The Wall Street Journal. “Now was the time. […] We waited until we were in the strongest possible position to conclude this agreement.
Monahan told them the tour had spent $50 million on legal fees and withdrawn $100 million from its reserve funds to help pay out larger purses and other bonuses to top players.
In a statement to ESPN on Saturday, a PGA Tour spokesperson called the Wall Street Journal report “oversimplified.”
“Characterizing that this agreement was reached due to legal costs and other uses of reservations is an oversimplification,” the statement read, adding, “With the end of the fractured landscape in the world of men’s professional golf , the PGA Tour has never been a more valuable property.
“The Public Investment Fund (PIF) has recognized this value and the opportunity for [return on investment] with their investment in the tour. Additionally, this transaction will make professional golf more competitive with other professional sports and spot leagues.
Monahan said ‘removing a competitor from the board’ was one of the reasons for the merger
The merger agreement announced Tuesday ends all legal disputes between the PGA Tour and the PIF.
A source told ESPN that the PGA Tour’s insurance will cover most of his legal costs.
Meanwhile, players who turned down big offers to defect to LIV Golf and stuck with the PGA Tour will be awarded shares in the new for-profit entity formed by the merger of the two tours, Jimmy Dunne said. , a member of the PGA Tour Board of Directors.
Dunne, who is credited with orchestrating the new deal, contacted PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan earlier this year to begin talks about the deal which caught the sports world by surprise.
Players who declined LIV’s offers and stayed on the Tour will be compensated for their loyalty
The PIF had previously funded LIV Golf which led to the schism in the world of golf which saw star players like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka quit the PGA Tour.
As for star players who declined LIV’s offers and stayed, like Jon Rahm of Spain and Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, they will now be rewarded for their loyalty.
‘New [company] would grow, and the [current PGA Tour] players would get an equity stake that would grow and increase in value over time,’ Dunne told ESPN.
“There would have to be some sort of formulaic decision on how to proceed. It would be a process to determine what would be a fair mechanism that would really benefit our players.
Players who have joined LIV will not be eligible for this equity plan.