PGA Tour boss on LIV Golf player returns (?!), Saudi PIF plans and health update

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan updates the media on a number of topics ahead of the Tour Championship. 

PGA Tour boss on LIV Golf player returns (?!), Saudi PIF plans and health update
PGA Tour boss on LIV Golf player returns (?!), Saudi PIF plans and health…

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan admits the possibility of players returning to the circuit from LIV Golf is making up part of ongoing discussions with the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF). 

The shock alliance, which was announced on June 6, is set to combine the commercial activities of the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, PIF, into a new-for-profit entity called 'NewCo' in a framework agreement. 

Monahan is set to serve as CEO of the entity with PIF's Yasir Al-Rumayyan as chairman. 

Speaking ahead of this week's Tour Championship and FedEx Cup finale at East Lake, and Monahan was asked a majority of PIF-related questions.

Monahan was quizzed by one journalist as to what a "positive outcome" would be for the PGA Tour in light of their stunning alliance with PIF, which currently bankrolls the LIV Golf League still led by two-time major champion Greg Norman

PGA Tour boss on LIV Golf player returns (?!), Saudi PIF plans and health update

In a lengthy response, Monahan reiterated PIF will be a "minority investor in NewCo with the PGA Tour."

He also explained a desire to "further reduce commercial inventory in broadcasts" and to "potentially invest in entities and companies that are going to help grow and diversify the PGA Tour fan base and the game."

Monahan also admitted he isn't looking at a plan for the next couple of years through to 2025, but one that is looking 10 to 15 years down the line. 

Here's what the PGA Tour boss had to say: 

"If you just go back to the nature of the agreement that we struck, the framework agreement, it is the PGA Tour partnering with PIF, having PIF be a minority investor in NewCo with the PGA Tour, with full-board governance and operational control of the Tour and ultimately the men's professional game moving forward.
"And for fans, for us to be able to use the capital to be able to invest back in our product, you know, to do things like further reduce commercial inventory in our broadcast, to further invest in our data businesses, to further invest in our media business, to potentially invest in entities and companies that we think are going to help us grow and diversify our fan base and the game.
"We're not an organization that has the capital to invest, so to be able to be in that position and do that productively and constructively for the Tour and our players, but also for the game, I think -- you know, the decision that -- or the thing that I'm thinking about is you get the question about 2025, but it's also, you know, where are you going to be in 10 or 15 years? And the sport of golf and the PGA Tour are in a really strong position thanks to our players, I mean, the work that was done coming out of COVID, what's happened, everything I've outlined here before, and we wake up every day saying how can we get stronger relative to other sports, how can we get more young people around the world into our game.
"We have a responsibility to do that in addition to making this the strongest Tour it can possibly be, and I think it allows us to do both. So that to me is a successful outcome."

Monahan was also asked about the prospect of LIV Golf players returning to the PGA Tour should they wish to next season, or in 2025.

While he could not give a concrete answer, he did confirm it's part of ongoing discussions with Al-Rumayyan at the moment. 

Monahan replied: 

"I appreciate your question but these are the kind of topics and discussions that we're having right now with PIF.
"So to be able to project what's going to happen, I don't have an answer today and when we complete our discussions, we'll have an answer for that question.
"So that's a nonanswer, but that's my position."

This response from Monahan comes just a week after one LIV Golf pro threw him under the bus

Earlier this month, the PGA Tour confirmed its revamped 2024 schedule, which will revert to a calendar year like the old days.

Of the 36 events in the FedEx Cup regular season, eight of them will be given Signature status with bumper prize funds

Tiger Woods also signed up to become the PGA Tour's latest board member in their fight against LIV Golf.

PGA Tour boss on LIV Golf player returns (?!), Saudi PIF plans and health update

Monahan also provided an update on his health after recently taking some time out. 

He confirmed he has "never felt better mentally and physically than right not" but then added he is a "work in progress". 

Monahan said: 

"I appreciate the question about my health. I would put it this way: I have never felt better mentally and physically than I feel right now. And obviously I had to take some steps to go from where I was to this position. But I'm a work in progress. So I'm working on the things that I've learned that are going to help me in my life and help me in this role, and that's something -- like it is out here for our players, that's something I have to work on every single day.
"That's how I feel, but more importantly my doctors, my wife, and girls, ultimately, that's how they feel about how I'm doing. They are my arbiters.
"But I really do, I really feel -- I feel as strong as I've felt in a long, long time. And I feel inspired and ready to go from the position we're in, ultimately, to generate a really positive outcome for the PGA Tour, and I came back ready to do that, alongside my peers and our players.
"But I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to step away and really assess where I was and put myself on the path that's going to allow me to do that."

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