PGA Tour Says Players Will Have Their Say As Merger Enters 'New Phase Of Negotiations'

The PGA Tour has assured top players that they will have a say on whatever the final PIF deal looks like after a lengthy meeting in Detroit

The PGA Tour and LIV Golf flags
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The PGA Tour says players will have a say on any deal they agree with the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) as they start a "new phase of negotiations" over the future of men's professional golf.

Details of the 'framework agreement' that has been agreed between the two parties was widely reported on Monday, with several of the big issues including who has control of LIV Golf's future and how those players can return to the PGA Tour among major details to be thrashed out.

After a lengthy meeting with top players on Tuesday, the PGA Tour has said that its Policy Board, which includes five players as representatives, will need to approve the details of any future deal that is made with the PIF.

Jay Monahan's decision to join forces with PIF boss Yasir Al-Rumayyan took the world by surprise - and led to an angry response from shocked players on the PGA Tour.

Tempers have cooled somewhat since then, and after a lengthy meeting in Detroit ahead of the Rocket Mortgage Classic the Tour released a statement to say that the players would be involved in forming the partnership.

Five players - Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy, Charley Hoffman, Peter Malnati and Webb Simpson - sit on the PGA Tour's Policy Board and met with Tyler Dennis and Ron Price, who are running the Tour while Monahan deals with a medical issue, on Tuesday.

They discussed the framework of the deal for five hours, before the Tour released a statement that assured their playing membership that the Policy Board would have to approve the deal with the PIF.

PGA Tour chief Jay Monahan and PIF boss Yasir Al-Rumayyan

PGA Tour chief Jay Monahan and PIF boss Yasir Al-Rumayyan are looking to join forces to run men's professional golf

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“Entering the framework agreement put an end to costly litigation," read the PGA Tour statement. 

"Management, with input from our player directors, has now begun a new phase of negotiations to determine if the Tour can reach a definitive agreement that is in the best of interests of our players, fans, sponsors, partners, and the game overall. 

"That was the focus of our productive Policy Board meeting this afternoon, with valuable and crucial input and perspective from the membership through our player directors.

“If future negotiations lead to a proposed agreement, it would need approval by the Tour’s Policy Board, which includes player directors. 

"In the meantime, we are all committed to the safeguards in the framework agreement that ensure the PGA Tour would lead and maintain control of this potential new commercial entity."

The statement also suggests that players are seemingly willing to work with the PGA Tour and PIF on forming this most unlikely of partnerships to run the men's professional game going forward.

Key sticking points are likely to be just what happens with LIV Golf, and what mechanism is put in place for those who joined Greg Norman's organisation to come back and play on the PGA Tour.

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.