If you’re confused by the current state of the PGA Tour’s negotiations with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and reports that other investment opportunities from U.S.-based interests have emerged, you’re not alone.
Imagine being one of the 500 or so members of the PGA Tour with some level of status and a whole lot of uncertainty. That’s where former PGA Tour pro Joe Ogilvie has stepped in to explain the current state of play in a way that is easy to understand. Ogilvie, who played on the PGA Tour from 1999-2014 and now manages money for Wallace Capital Management, sent an open letter to membership of the Tour dated Oct. 24, that Golfweek obtained. Ogilvie, who formerly served as a player director on the Tour’s policy board and earned the nickname “The Lil Commish” during his playing days for his knowledge of the Tour’s inner workings and expressed desire to someday follow in the footsteps of Deane Beman from player to running the business, has long been considered one of the smartest voices in the game and remains tapped into Tour happenings.
In a letter that stretched onto three pages, Ogilvie asserts that “there has never been a better time to be a PGA Tour member” but there are critical decisions to be made and he highlights both the pros and cons to be considered.
Adding a partner may or may not be necessary, Ogilvie points out, but he wants the membership to understand what that means and the unique position they are in.
“If we sell a part of our Tour, we are taking on a close partner. It’s not dissimilar to getting married,” Ogilvie writes. “Once consummated, the decision-making by law will require that the best interests of all parties be considered, including your new spouse. We can’t take their money and check in with them on occasion, they’re in bed with us. They will be part of our Tour, for better or for worse. We must understand the detailed motivations of any new investor and how they will participate in the functioning of the board.”
Ogilvie doesn’t suggest what he believes the best course of action for the Tour is other than to advise the players that addressing governance on the front end is important, and reminding the players that it is their tour. While they don’t own it, if they were to adopt a “for profit” model, they must ensure they remain in control.
“The players must continue to hold governance control of the new for-profit entity and the original not-for-profit entity,” he…