PGA Tour Investor Makes Bold Claim About LIV Golfers

PGA Tour investor Arthur Blank was asked about the threat of LIV Golf but the Atlanta Falcons owner didn't seem that worried

PGA Tour investor Arthur Blank looks on prior to the game between the Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 24, 2023
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PGA Tour investor and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank has suggested that LIV Golf has just seven of the world's top 100 players.

Blank is one member of the consortium of US sports team owners, otherwise known as Strategic Sports Group, that recently struck a $3billion deal with the PGA Tour. The deal will see billions pumped into PGA Tour Enterprises - the new, for-profit wing of the Tour - which is now set to be valued at around $12bn.

The agreement could lay the groundwork for Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) to come on board in the future as a co-investor in PGA Tour Enterprises, with negotiations ongoing since June last year.

A deal with the PIF is seen by many as a vital step to end men's golf's long-running civil war and reunite the best players in the world. 

Blank, though, didn't appear to be particularly concerned by the threat posed by LIV.

"Of the top 100 players in the world, I think there’s seven on [LIV]. So keep it all in perspective," the 81-year-old said in an interview with Front Office Sports.

LIV currently has nine players within the Official World Golf Ranking's (OWGR) top 100, although the 54-hole circuit still does not receive OWGR points for their events. 

However, using Data Golf's rankings, determined via the strokes gained metric, the Saudi-backed league has 18 of the world's top 100 players. In Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka, LIV also has two of the four Major champions from last year.

Jon Rahm looks on during LIV Golf Mayakoba

World No.3 Jon Rahm is LIV's highest-ranked player in the OWGR

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When asked more broadly about the deal between SSG and the Tour, the American said: "This new interest that the PGA Tour has [in switching from a nonprofit to a for-profit model] is very positive for the game. 

"When I met with the players, I’ve said: You know you can get all the money you want because the product is great and the upside is significant. 

"What you really should be in terms of picking who you want as a partner [is] super sensitive to what can they bring to the table that can really help the Tour grow as a platform—business experience, life experience, sports perspective.”

Tiger Woods talks to the media ahead of the Genesis Invitational

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Despite the huge influx of cash from SSG, talks remain ongoing with PIF, although initial hopes to have a deal agreed before the Masters appear to now be unlikely. 

Speaking prior to the Genesis Invitation, Tiger Woods, a key player in the Tour's negotiations, echoed Jordan Spieth's recent words that the PGA Tour is keen to work with the PIF but no longer needs its financial backing.

"Ultimately we would like to have PIF be a part of our tour and a part of our product," the 15-time Major champion said. 

"Financially, we don't right now, and the monies that they have come to the table with and what we initially had agreed to in the framework agreement, those are all the same numbers.

"Anything beyond this is going to be obviously over and above. We're in a position right now, hopefully we can make our product better in the short term and long term."

Ben Fleming

Ben joined Golf Monthly having completed his NCTJ in multimedia sports journalism at News Associates, London. He is now a freelance journalist who also works for The Independent, Metro, UEFA and Stats Perform.