Guy Kinnings Reveals When He Believes Negotiations Over The Future Of Men's Pro Golf Will Begin (And When A Resolution Might Arrive)

The DP World Tour chief also suggested - once unification talks are complete - men's pro golf is unlikely to begin its new dawn any earlier than 2026

Guy Kinnings speaks ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in 2022
(Image credit: Getty Images)

DP World Tour chief executive Guy Kinnings says he "gets the sense" negotiations between the PGA Tour, Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, and the European Tour Group over the future of men's professional golf "should be happening fairly soon.”

Around 10 months have passed since news of a "framework agreement" between the three main parties became public, yet Kinnings revealed on Thursday - when speaking to a select group of British and Irish journalists - that concrete talks over how exactly this specific area of the sport will look moving forward have yet to begin.

Kinnings - who recently replaced Keith Pelley as the head of the European Tour - said that he, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, and PIF chair Yasir Al-Rumayyan have all spoken to each other in separate instances over the past months but not while all in the same room. Yet, that is apparently about to change.

Addressing The Scotsman, Kinnings said: “I’ve got loads of stuff in my in-tray that involves the DP World Tour, all our other tours and the Ryder Cup, but we all know there is one single topic that really needs to get sorted first and the rest of the stuff will flow from there.

“You know, this is the irony of what we are facing right now. Golf is in such a really healthy state. In so many metrics, golf couldn’t be stronger. You know, participation levels, interest, whatever. But until we get the solution of what is the future of the game is going to look like, it’s kind of you have that faint sense of it’s the elephant in the room in every conversation you could possibly have.

“So, from my perspective, all I want to do is make sure we as quickly as possible get the right people around a table to talk about what can a future look like. I don’t expect them to go in knowing all the answers. There’s lots of things have to get worked at. What does the product look like, probably from 2026 and beyond? What’s the pathway? What does it mean for things?

“But, until you get into the room with the right people with the right intent to try and find a solution, you are never going to work out a deal and, at the end of the day, this is what is needed right now as quickly as we can."

In a line to BBC Sport's Iain Carter, Kinnings said: “We just have to get that negotiation started. I get the sense it should be happening fairly soon.”

Those conversations will not be straightforward, however, with plenty of stakeholders wishing to have their say - including the Strategic Sports Group which has agreed a $3 billion deal with the PGA Tour.

But the potential return of Rory McIlroy to boardroom level on the PGA Tour may aid productive talks.

Kinnings pointed out that, as a result of the complexities involved - but also with the need to find a resolution as quickly as possible - the new dawn in men's pro golf is unlikely to arise until at least 2026.

He continued: “I was talking to the guys from the Strategic Sports Group and I said ‘listen, we’ve got to get together, we’ve got to pull it all together, we’ve got to find the product that works - it probably won’t be until 2026 but beyond there - and is good for the game, something that fans like and works for everyone.

"But, at the end of the day, it has got to be something that is appealing to them. It’s got to work for all parties and everyone is going to have to do things they don’t necessarily want to, a compromise. But that’s what you do if you strike a deal, it won’t happen until we get everyone in a room together.”

One of the outcomes that is being touted as potential route for golf to go down is to set up a World Tour - with greater focus on tournaments outside of the United States.

Crowd numbers at DP World Tour and LIV Golf events in Australia have proved there is a great thirst for high-quality golf over there, with several other countries also likely to be 'sleeping giants' in terms of untapped potential.

Kinnings believes Al-Rumayyan would support a World Tour in the end, but ultimately just wants to see the sport thrive at the top level.

Jay Monahan and Yasir Al-Rumayyan

Jay Monahan and Yasir Al-Rumayyan

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Speaking to The Scotsman, Kinnings said: "We’ve all seen - even with a great Masters - that TV figures are down. If we listen to the fans, there’s something that needs to get fixed and I see it as a huge opportunity because, if you can unite and go global, that’s exactly what we are all about."

Later to the BBC, the DP World Tour boss said: “It has to be better for the professional game to find a single product and he is a very smart guy. He will know that.

“Everyone is going to have to give a bit to get to where you need to. The more you read headlines about viewership figures going down, people realise if they don’t move quickly there will be lasting damage. And I don’t think Yasir wants damage to the game, he clearly likes the game.”

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff News Writer who joined Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. An improving golfer who still classes himself as ‘one of the worst players on the Golf Monthly team’, Jonny enjoys playing as much as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Opens and is keen to make it an annual pilgrimage.