PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico — Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund was first to the table in June of 2023 to negotiate a framework agreement with the PGA Tour to create a new for-profit entity that would alter professional golf as we know it, and has been locked in discussions in the seven months since.
Just hours after news broke that an outside investment group comprised of a consortium of U.S. sports owners had agreed to invest $3 billion to create PGA Tour Enterprises, Greg Norman responded with a letter to the entire league staff that was obtained by Golfweek. The note didn’t just hype up LIV Golf’s third official season – which begins this week at Mayakoba’s El Camaleon Golf Course – but also downplayed any negative impact the Strategic Sports Group’s investment may have on LIV’s future.
A day later, Golfweek has obtained yet another letter, this time sent from LIV Golf Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan to players, that took a more measured approach.
Yesterday’s announcement of the formation of PGA Tour Enterprises is consistent with PIF’s longstanding passion to grow the game. PIF continues to discuss and evaluate the possibility of a future investment that benefits the greater game of golf.
PIF remains committed to investing in and supporting LIV and the team golf format that has brought new energy and so many new fans to the game around the world.
The game of golf is only beginning to fulfill its potential. This is the vision we had when LIV was created, and today that is more alive than ever. LIV has transofmred the sport, and we will continue to grow the game globally, expand its fanbase, elevate its platform, and maintain incredible momentum.
LIV has a great season ahead. Good luck at Mayakoba. I will see you all on the range soon.
LIV Golf Chairman
Words matter, and Al-Rumayyan chose his carefully by hedging any guarantee of an investment. In the Tour’s announcement of its partnership with the SSG, the release stated PGA Tour Enterprises allows for a co-investment from the PIF in the future, “subject to all necessary regulatory approvals.”
The U.S. government has kept a keen interest in the proposed PIF investment since the initial framework agreement was announced. An optimist would say the inclusion of the SSG investment may dilute any future Saudi investment just enough to make a deal more palatable for the feds. A pessimist could also argue the Tour is attempting to squeeze the Saudis out.
LIV Golf has ventured on after the Tour and PIF’s previous deadline of Dec. 31, 2023, to come to an agreement was missed. The league has poached great players and characters like Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton and will host at least four events in 2024 the same week as PGA Tour signature events, including this week in Mexico. While the possibility of an investment in PGA Tour Enterprises is certainly still on the table, Al-Rumayyan’s letter sure makes it seem like the two sides still aren’t close to coming together.