Jay Monahan Has 'The Right People Around The Table' But PIF Talks 'One Of The More Complex Scenarios They Have Ever Seen'

Although he remains positive about the PGA Tour-PIF talks, Jay Monahan says the huge complexity of the situation is why a deal is taking so long

PGA Tour chief Jay Monahan and PIF boss Yasir Al-Rumayyan
(Image credit: Getty Images)

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan says progress is being made with the Saudi PIF but although positive he says the sheer complexity of the matter is why a deal remains some way off.

It's now just over a year since the shock initial 'framework agreement' was first agreed and published, and as yet no final deal has been struck.

Monahan sent a memo out to players to issue a positive update ahead of the Travelers Championship, and in a rare press conference later tried to explain what the huge delay was.

Monahan says that only certain aspects of that framework agreement are now in place, and that they were "building from the ground up" having largely started again.

PGA Tour and PIF representatives - including both chairmen and Tiger Woods - met in New York on June 7 to discuss building a successful future for men's professional golf, but that meeting has not brought about a deal. 

Having Strategic Sports Group (SSG) on board as investors has brought a wealth of sports business experience with them, and Monahan says that although they are the right people to take part in discussions - even those more experienced in business find the situation a complex one.

"All I can say is that when you have people the likes of John Henry and Arthur Blank, Sam Kennedy, Andy Cohen, Joe Gorder, a lot of people that - some people are new to our sport, but have massive experience in sport in the corporate world. When they say that this is one of the more complex scenarios that they have ever seen, I think that says a lot," Monahan said at his press conference.

"So, as it relates to whether or not the complexity is being underestimated, I think it's only fair to say that unless you have a full context for everything that's being discussed, it would be unreasonable for anyone to think that you would fully understand the complexity. 

"But with complexity comes opportunity. So there are a lot of different factors at play, but nobody who is having the conversation is unaware of the complexity, and everyone I think is embracing the fact that there are things, obstacles and things you got to overcome in a complex situation. 

"We have the right people around the table for us and they do as well."

Main image of Jay Monahan looking to the right while inset photo shows PIF chair Yasir Al-Rumayyan wearing a black LIV Golf cap

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Monahan insisted that some parts of that initial framework agreement are still included in talks, but said both parties have largely started again when discussing this new prospective deal.

"I would say that the framework agreement is still relevant," he said. "There are aspects of it that certainly continue to be in play. 

"But I would put it more back towards we've kind of stepped back, we've all stepped back and we started anew. 

"And particularly with the introduction of the Transaction Committee, our players' involvement, and I would say that we're, you know, the vast majority of what we're talking about, we're building from the ground up. 

"But any time you're building from the ground up, part of what you've talked about, part of the history of those conversations is important context."

Monahan says he's in talks with the PIF twice a week and that both parties are trying to achieve the same goal of improving the sport for both players and fans - but it seems a deal is still some way off.

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.