PGA Tour chief confident of Saudi deal before December deadline

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan says he expects to meet a Dec. 31 deadline to finalize details of the tour's affiliation with LIV Golf (Kevin C. Cox)

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan says he expects to meet a Dec. 31 deadline to finalize details of the tour’s affiliation with LIV Golf (Kevin C. Cox)

PGA Tour CEO Jay Monahan said Tuesday he is confident of meeting a Dec. 31 deadline to flesh out the details of the tour’s merger with Saudi-backed LIV Golf.

Speaking ahead of this week’s Tour Championship playoff final in Atlanta, Monahan said he expected a deal on the new circuit to be in place by January 1.

The PGA Tour surprised world golf in June after announcing a shock deal with the Saudi backers of LIV Golf aimed at ending the sport’s two-year civil war.

But firm details of how the “new collectively owned, for-profit entity” that will see the PGA Tour, Europe’s DP World Tour and LIV Golf merge have yet to be revealed.

Under the agreement signed by all sides in June, a deadline of December 31 was set to finalize the details of the new circuit.

Despite lingering skepticism, Monahan told reporters Tuesday there was no reason to believe the deadline would not be met.

“As I sit here today, I am confident that we will reach an agreement that achieves a positive outcome for the PGA Tour and our fans — I see it and I’m sure of it,” Monahan said.

“We have put an end to the divisive and distracting lawsuits, we have safeguards in place to put the PGA Tour in a position to control our future.”

Asked if he believed a deal would be in place by Jan. 1, Monahan said, “We’re confident we’ll reach a positive outcome for the PGA Tour…I have no reason to believe that we will not succeed.”

Monahan declined to be drawn on whether he believed the Rebel LIV Golf circuit had a viable long-term future.

“I think there’s a lot of questions that are specific questions that will come up … as it relates to elements of what’s in the framework agreement and elements of what we’re talking about,” Monahan said.

“I will not speak publicly about them until we have completed those discussions and I can answer that question specifically and directly.”

Monahan, meanwhile, said he expects the PGA Tour to open 2024 with its traditional Sentry Tournament of Champions at Mauidespite devastating wildfires on the island that have left more than 100 people dead.

The Sentry Tournament takes place at Kapalua Golf Club’s Plantation Course on Maui each year, about 18 miles from Lahaina, the seaside town left in ruins during the fires.

But Monahan warned that any decision to play the tournament would depend on the goodwill of local authorities.

“At this point, there are so many unknowns and we want to respect the challenges,” Monahan said.

“We would like to be part of the revitalization. There are many considerations. If we are allowed to, if we are invited, if we are embraced – given everything that needs to be achieved, we will be there 100 per cent.

“But I think at this point right now it’s out of our hands.”


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