Report: Lightning strikes (!) between PGA Tour and LIV Golf's backers

PGA Tour Enterprises have reportedly agreed a deal with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, according to a report on the eve of the US Open.

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson

Lightning has struck between PGA Tour Enterprises and LIV Golf's backers. 

At least that is the assertion from the prominent golf reporter Alan Shipnuck. 

Shipnuck took to X on 11 June to claim that he has been told the news by an agent who has clients on the PGA Tour and on the breakaway circuit. 

The news, whilst unsubstantiated, comes a matter of days after the two sides met in New York to continue negotiations. 

Rory McIlroy joined that talk via video from Muirfield Village and later told of how things were finally heading in the right direction. 

PGA Tour policy board member Webb Simpson backed up that claim

And golf icon Tiger Woods also labelled the meeting 'productive' in his news conference before the 2024 US Open

Yasir Al-Rumayyan and PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan
Yasir Al-Rumayyan and PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan

But Woods, 48, stopped short of confirming that any deal was agreed. 

However, he did say: "I think we're closer to that point than we were pre-meeting. We discussed a lot of different endings and how we get there. 

"I think that both sides walked away from the meeting, we all felt very positive in that meeting.

"As I said, both sides were looking at different ways to get to the end game. I think that both sides shared a deep passion for how we need to get there. 

"And yes, there are going to be differences of opinion, but we all want the same thing." 

"A prominent agent who has clients on both tours tells me a “draft agreement” was signed today between PGA Tour Enterprises and the PIF to finalize Saudi investment in the Tour. This is definite progress but the devil is in the details, which have not yet been leaked." - Alan Shipnuck

This is a seismic development if true. 

A year ago, PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan sat alongside his LIV rival and PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan on American TV to announce the 'framework agreement'. 

All litigation was dropped. 

It was a bolt from the blue and angered high-profile professional golfers as it was done without their knowledge. 

Initially, the likes of McIlroy were enraged but the Northern Irishman later softened his stance on the rival league. 

He has insisted that reunification is in the best interests of the men's game. 

A deadline of 31 December was set to conclude the deal. 

But the date passed without the agreement being ratified. 

Stumbling blocks to the deal appeared to be the reluctance of American stars to embrace a truly global schedule. 

Another thorny topic was if LIV players should face financial penalties if they wished to return to the PGA Tour. 

How the US government would react to the deal was also a major headache. 

It took until March this year for PGA Tour policy board members to meet Al-Rumayyan for the first time. 

That meet-and-greet came after PGA Tour Enterprises were bolstered by a $1.5bn investment from the Strategic Sports Group. 

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson

With that cash injection, it appeared to many the North American circuit were attempting to go it alone. 

But in recent weeks the tone has shifted yet again.

"I think the narrative that things are in a bad place and are moving slowly and, you know, some of the things that are asked to me or said are untrue," Jordan Spieth said before the Charles Schwab Challenge. 

"I think that I -- I know that it's false, actually. 

"Things are actually moving positively from both sides. 

"I think ultimately we'll end up in a place where professional golf is maybe the best that it's ever been."

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