Jay Monahan Reveals Negotiations With PIF 'Accelerating' Over PGA Tour Deal

The PGA Tour commissioner gave a positive update on discussions with the PIF ahead of The Players Championship

Jay Monahan and Yasir Al-Rumayyan
Jay Monahan has given a positive update on the state of negotiations between the PGA Tour and the PIF
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan's latest press conference, the boss of the US circuit gave an update on the outcome of the negotiations with the Saudi Public Investment Fund behind LIV Golf, stressing that talks are “accelerating.”

Monahan, who was speaking ahead of the 50th edition of The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, also revealed he had recently met with PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan as discussions over the framework agreement, and, ultimately, the direction of the elite game, continue.

The negotiations are scheduled to come to a head before April’s Masters. Not surprisingly considering the sensitive stage of the talks, Monahan was reluctant to divulge too many details, but he struck an optimistic tone, revealing that he can foresee a positive outcome for both the PGA Tour and the game as a whole.

He said: “I recently met with the governor of the PIF, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, and our negotiations are accelerating as we spend time together. While we have several key issues that we still need to work through, we have a shared vision to quiet the noise and unlock golf's worldwide potential.

"It's going to take time, but I reiterate what I said at the Tour Championship in August. I see a positive outcome for the PGA Tour and the sport as a whole."

Last month, the PGA Tour announced a $3bn investment from US-based Strategic Sports Group  (SSG), and Monahan revealed that, far from making discussions with the PIF more challenging, it has helped accelerate them. 

He said: “It was important for SSG and it was important for the Tour to engage directly with the PIF prior to finalizing any deal, which is why I joined principals from SSG on a trip to Saudi Arabia to meet with Yasir and members of PIF, and that's why we continue to have productive discussions. 

"There's a mutual respect there that I think is helpful towards ultimately getting a deal done, and I think it is that level of discussion that has helped accelerate the conversations."

Jay Monahan and John Henry shake on the Strategic Sports Group's deal with the PGA Tour

The PGA Tour has agreed on investment from the Strategic Sports Group

(Image credit: Getty Images)

While Monahan was reluctant to give much away on the specifics of the talks, he hinted that the idea of a team aspect being introduced to the PGA Tour had been discussed, adding: "There are a lot of things that we're talking about, team golf being one of them."

The 53-year-old also warned that if a deal isn't reached, it would mean a "unique" opportunity to unify the game had slipped by. He said: "If we don't negotiate a deal, then I think ultimately we're back in the same posture that we're in, and we haven't unified our game and taken advantage of this unique point in time."

Talks with the PIF have been ongoing for approaching a year, with the announcement the two former rivals had agreed to open discussions coming on 6 June 2023. Very little information on the progress of them has been forthcoming over the ensuing months, with some reports casting doubt on whether a deal would be struck at all.

Monahan’s largely positive update should at least go some way to addressing those fears. In the meantime, the commissioner, who had at one point faced calls to resign given the secretive nature of the discussions, will be hoping events on the course can take precedence – beginning with this week’s tournament in Florida.

Mike Hall
News Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.