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LIV Golf, PGA Tour still don’t have deal after one year

LIV Golf sign

It was one of those news drops all golf fans will never forget.

June 6, 2023: The PGA Tour and LIV Golf announced a “framework agreement” to merge business entities after weeks of secret negotiations.

The PGA Tour, whose roots go back more than a century, and LIV Golf, the upstart league launched in June 2021 with tour antagonist Greg Norman as its face and financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, forming an alliance?

This cannot be happening.

After two years of player poaching, lawsuits, nasty insults from both sides and talk of Saudi Arabia’s atrocious human rights violations, the vision of PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan side-by-side on a CNBC set detailing how the rival leagues will combine commercial businesses and rights into a new for-profit company, and drop all lawsuits, truly was surreal.

LIV Golf sign

Matthew Wolff lines up his putt on the 18th green during the final round of the LIV Golf Las Vegas tournament at Las Vegas Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

How has that gone?

At first, we were told that the “merger” — later reframed as an “agreement” — would be finalized by Dec. 31 and the PIF would be writing a very large check (somewhere between $1 billion and $2 billion) to boost PGA Tour Enterprises.  But New Year’s Eve came and went without a deal, and now, one year later, we appear no closer than we were six months ago.

And after a brief cease-fire, some members, from both sides, resumed taking shots at each other, and LIV Golf, which has headquarters in West Palm Beach, went back to poaching PGA Tour stars.

“It’s messy, and it has been and it seems to get messier every week,” Seth Waugh, CEO of the PGA of America, said at the PGA Championship. “I don’t think the game is big enough for two tours like that, and I think we are diluting the game in a way that is not healthy.

“I hope there’s urgency because I do think it’s doing damage to the tour, to the game. … I just don’t think it’s a healthy situation right now.”

Here is a timeline of the ebbs and flows of the PGA Tour and LIV Golf when it comes to a possible merger:

If you can’t beat them, join them

2023 Open Championship2023 Open Championship

Rory McIlroy reacts after missing a putt on the 14th green during the third round of The Open Championship golf tournament at Royal Liverpool. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

While surprised that everything came together so quickly, Rory McIlroy said the PGA…


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