When the news came it felt as though the world of men's professional golf was hit by a freight train: the PGA Tour had struck a deal with LIV Golf's Saudi backers.
The shock announcement made international news headlines. It came on the eve of the 2023 U.S. Open and PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan was on live television sitting alongside LIV Golf's mastermind Yasir Al-Rumayyan grinning like a Cheshire cat. Was this reality?
The announcement has been pilloried by the 9/11 families who were essentially used as props throughout the last 18 months of legal wranglings.
Monahan had previously asked PGA Tour players who were thinking of leaving: "When was the last time you had to apologise for being a member of the PGA Tour?"
In the words of David Brent: "Hypocrite warning!" Said players aren't too happy with the lack of transparency.
Rory McIlroy said he was the tour's 'sacrificial lamb' having vehemently defended the North American even before a tee shot was struck on the breakaway tour.
US lawmakers have demanded answers too.
They finally got a response on 26 June and we can now reveal the 'framework agreement' between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.
Related: USGA official admits McIlroy mistake
To the uninitiated, the deal was brokered over a series of secret meetings between Monahan, Al-Rumayyan alongside PGA Tour directors Ed Herlihy and Jimmy Dunne.
Apparently it only took Monahan 10 minutes to trust Al-Rumayyan, who is said to be a key part of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman's network.
He's always listening, Al-Rumayyan is said to have told one top golfer on board his private yacht.
Take at the agreement here:
So what are the biggest takeaways?
- There will be a pathway back to the PGA Tour who joined LIV, were fined and suspended 'through a fair and objective process'
- The parties will use their 'best efforts' to secure Official World Golf Ranking Points for LIV Golf
- The future of LIV Golf is still uncertain. The new company will 'undertake a full and objective empirical data-driven evaluation of LIV and its prospects and potential'
- LIV Golf won't be allowed to recruit PGA Tour players until at least 2024
- The legal battles are officially over. The litigation was dropped with 'prejudice' which means they cannot be picked up if this all goes south
- It appears the PGA Tour will retain control of the new company
- PIF will become a huge, huge sponsor of men's professional golf
And the biggest? In our opinion, it was the fact this deal appears to have been signed on 30 May, a week before Monahan appeared on live TV.
What do you think about this news? Don't hesitate to send us your thoughts.
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