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Monahan: Deal to unite PGA Tour with Saudi’s PIF ‘accelerating’

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan insists talks are accelerating to finalise the Framework Agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and remains confident a deal can be agreed to unify the sport.

The golfing world was shocked last June when the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and PIF – who bankroll LIV Golf – announced a framework agreement to form one entity for commercial assets and end litigation between the tours, with the deadline since extended beyond its initial target of December 31.

Monahan was asked to provide an update on negotiations in his pre-tournament press conference ahead of the 50th edition of The Players, where he confirmed that he recently met PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan and there were terms still to be agreed on.

Image: Jay Monahan addressed the media on Tuesday ahead of The Players

“Our negotiations are accelerating as we spend time together,” Monahan said. “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.

“Most importantly, I see a positive outcome for our great fans. Despite the distractions over the last two years, fans, sponsors and communities continue to value and engage with the PGA Tour and I am more confident than ever in the fundamental strength of our organisation.”

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PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan says Tiger Woods wants to earn his own way into every competition and admits that he would be the hardest golfer to convince to return to compete at the Players Championship.

What next for the PGA Tour?

Monahan refused to confirm whether team golf was part of the conversations and what the possible pathway back to the PGA Tour would look like for LIV players, should that decision be made.

“However we end up, I think that we’re not going to be able to satisfy everyone, and that goes for both sides,” Monahan conceded. “But what we’re trying to do is to get to the best possible outcome again for the PGA Tour and for the game, and I do think that that’s achievable.

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Rich Beem believes PGA Tour’s partnership with Strategic Sports Group is a ‘positive step’ in helping players feel like they are part of the tour.

“I feel a responsibility to put the PGA Tour in the strongest position every single day. We’ve taken a big step forward in our progression with SSG [Strategic Sports Group]. We continue to be in those discussions with the PIF, so clearly I see that as an opportunity for us to strengthen our tour and to strengthen the game.

“I take that responsibility seriously, and as a board and as an organization, we’re committed to trying get to a place where there is unification.”

Monahan learns from Framework Agreement

Tiger Woods has previously revealed his frustration at the secretive way in which a deal was agreed last year, while Rory McIlroy said at the time of the announcement that he felt like a “sacrificial lamb”, and Monahan accepts the situation could have been handled in other ways.

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Ahead of the 50th anniversary of The Players Championship, take a look at some of the best moments from the historic tournament.

“There are always things when you look back that you would do differently,” Monahan admitted. “Obviously when you look back to last summer, I could have handled that better, and I’ve taken full responsibility and accountability for that. That’s on me.

“But we’ve moved on, and we’ve made so much progress since that point in time and I have learned from it. I’ve been humbled by it. I think I’ve gotten stronger as a leader, and the progress that we have made since that point in time, I couldn’t be more excited about.”

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Multiple PGA Tour players have previously called for Monahan to resign, but he remains committed to the role and to growing the sport.

“I am the right person to lead us forward,” Monahan added. “I know that. I believe that in my heart, and I’m determined to do exactly that.”

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There’s not long to wait until the 50th edition of The Players, live on Thursday from 11.30am on Sky Sports Golf

When is The Players live on Sky?

Sky Sports Golf will once again be the home of The Players in 2024, with nearly 60 hours of live coverage during tournament week and a host of extra content available for you to enjoy.

Bonus coverage will be available via the red button for all four tournament rounds, with featured groups and bonus marquee groups there to enjoy every day alongside a special featured holes feed.

Watch The Players live on Thursday from 11.30am on Sky Sports Golf. Stream the PGA Tour and more with NOW.

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