Sat, 23 Sep 2023

Report: PGA Tour couldn't afford fight with Saudis

Field Level Media
11 Jun 2023, 03:19 GMT+10

Commissioner Jay Monahan told employees that the PGA Tour simply couldn't afford to keep fighting the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf League, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

Monahan said the tour was spending tens of millions in its legal fight with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund while also increasing its own purses to help stop other players from defecting to the rival circuit.

Monahan made the remarks during a meeting Thursday at PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., per the report. He said the fight was not sustainable against a Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund that reportedly has more than $600 billion in assets.

The meeting came two days after the PGA Tour's shocking announcement that it had formed an alliance with the DP World Tour and the Public Investment Fund.

"We cannot compete with a foreign government with unlimited money," Monahan told employees, according to the Wall Street Journal. "This was the time. ... We waited to be in the strongest possible position to get this deal in place."

Monahan told them the tour had spent $50 million in legal fees and taken $100 million from its reserve funds to help pay out larger purses and other bonuses to top players.

In a statement to ESPN on Saturday, a PGA Tour spokesperson characterized the Wall Street Journal report as an "oversimplification."

"To characterize that this agreement was made due to litigation costs and other use of reserves is an oversimplification," read the statement. "With the end of the fractured landscape in the world of men's professional golf, the PGA Tour has never been a more valuable property.

"The Public Investment Fund (PIF) has recognized that value and the opportunity for [return on investment] with their investment in the tour. Additionally, this transaction will make professional golf more competitive with other professional sports and sports leagues."

The merger agreement announced Tuesday ends all legal disputes between the PGA Tour and the PIF. A source told ESPN that the PGA Tour's insurance will cover some of its legal fees.

--Field Level Media

More London News

Access More

Sign up for The London News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!