Key figure in golf’s peace talks resigns saying ‘no meaningful progress’ has been made

Jimmy Dunne has resigned from the PGA Tour board
Jimmy Dunne has resigned from the PGA Tour board - AP

Jimmy Dunne, the PGA Tour executive who first brokered the “framework agreement” with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, has quit the board claiming that player power has made his role “utterly superfluous”.

The departure of Rory McIlroy’s ally is sure to create further tension in the game, particularly as Dunne resigned declaring that “no meaningful progress” has been made in the PIF negotiations.

The American multi-millionaire businessman was initially central to the peace talks, but since the players grabbed voting control of the 12-strong policy board, he had been cut out of the negotiations.

“Since the players now outnumber the Independent Directors on the board… I feel like my vote and my role is utterly superfluous,” Dunne wrote in his resignation letter to Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, which was obtained by Sports Illustrated.

Dunne went on to warn against the board turning away PIF because of the wish to punish the players who jumped ship to LIV Golf – in some cases on nine-figured contracts – and because they do not want a global circuit.

“It is crucial for the Board to avoid letting yesterday’s differences interfere with today’s decisions, especially when they influence future opportunities for the Tour,” Dunne said.

“Unifying professional golf is paramount to restoring fan interest and repairing wounds left from a fractured game. I have tried my best to move all minds in that direction.”

Dunne had forged a relationship with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the PIF governor who is also LIV chairman, and it will be interesting to hear what he thinks. Al-Rumayyan became so exasperated with the slowness of proceedings that LIV signed Jon Rahm in a £400 million deal last December.

The next month, the PGA Tour announced that it was receiving more than £1 billion in private equity from US investors led by Liverpool FC owner Fenway Sports.

Dunne’s timing can also be seen as notable. Tiger Woods, one of the player directors, is due into the interview room here at the USPGA Championship on Tuesday.

Last week, McIlroy revealed that his attempt to rejoin the board was blocked by “a subset of people on the board that were maybe uncomfortable with me coming back on for some reason”.

Woods, together with Patrick Cantlay and Jordan Spieth, was believed to have been in opposition to a McIlroy return. Like Dunne, McIlroy is convinced that a deal with PIF is vital.

Meanwhile, Scottie Scheffler’s presence at Valhalla on the first official day of practice confirmed that the Masters champion will compete.

There were doubts over the world No 1’s status as the season’s second major because of his insistence that he would “take a little time away” when his and wife Meredith’s first child arrived. However, their son, Bennett, was born last Wednesday and Scheffler is ready to tee it up.

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