LIV Golf, PGA Tour to merge after two contentious years

After two years of intense vitriol, with much focused on the Saudi-backed league’s ties to 9/11, the PGA Tour will merge with its top challenger.

The PGA Tour has agreed to merge with LIV Golf, a rival backed by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, ending all pending litigation between the two entities.

The deal would combine the PGA Tour’s and LIV Golf’s commercial businesses and rights into a new, yet-to-be-named for-profit company, which would include DP World Tour, also known as the PGA European Tour.


Driving the news: Saudi Arabia’s PIF is prepared to invest billions of new capital into the new entity.

  • The agreement will require the approval of the PGA Tour policy board.
  • The deal comes after LIV Golf sued The PGA Tour alleging anti-competitive practices for banning its players, while the tour countersued, claiming LIV was stifling competition.
  • The upstart league had lured multiple high-profile players, such as Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson, from the PGA Tour after the tour had banned the players from competing in LIV’s events.
  • The deal comes soon after LIV golfer Brooks Koepka won the PGA Championship, one of four major titles in men’s golf.

The backstory: The two organizations had filed a series of antitrust claims against the other in recent months. The PGA Tour looked at the game of golf “on a global basis,” as it has seen more growth in the sport outside of the U.S. The merger will require the approval of the PGA Tour policy board.

  • PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan said, “Whatever it takes that’s … what we’re committed for.” The groups will establish “a fair and objective process for any players who want to re-apply for membership with the PGA Tour or DP World Tour” following the end of the 2023 season, according to a release.
  • PIF has reportedly invested $2 billion into LIV already, and had aspirations of creating franchises and teams that could one day be sold. Critics of LIV have accused PIF of “sportswashing” by using the league to distract from the kingdom’s history of human rights violations.
  • Family members of those who perished in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have protested the league, including outside of events. Last year, Monahan said during an interview with CBS Sports that he had discussed these controversies with tour players.
  • During the interview, Monahan plainly stated the case against LIV Golf to golfers mulling taking their talents to the breakaway league: “Have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?”
  • Former President Donald Trump, who has hosted a number of LIV Golf events at his golf courses, has defended those events, falsely claiming that “nobody’s gotten to the bottom of 9/11.”
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