Pelley 'optimistic' Tour/PIF deal done in next 3 months

Pelley 'optimistic' Tour/PIF deal done in next 3 months

Keith Pelley knows the date when he’ll step aside as the leader of the DP World Tour, and there’s much to accomplish before then.

Chief among his priorities is completing the proposed agreement between his circuit, the PGA Tour and Saudi Public Investment Fund.

Pelley told reporters Friday, after the second round of the Dubai Invitational, that he believes a deal between the tours can be wrapped up before Guy Kinnings takes over on April 2.

It’s why Pelley pushed to stay on for the next three months.

“We hope to come to a conclusion, and moving that forward is something that is going to be my primary focus over the next three months,” Pelley told reporters. “I’m definitely staying until April, and I’ve told the PGA Tour and I’ve told representatives from PIF that that is my priority. I still believe it. That’s the reason we entered into the framework agreement, and we need to move it forward.”

Pelley, a native Canadian, announced earlier this week that he was returning to Toronto and taking his “dream job” as the president and CEO of the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the NHL’s Maple Leafs, NBA’s Raptors, MLS’ Toronto FC and CFL’s Argonauts.

His departure comes at a tumultuous time for the sport, with the PGA Tour and Pelley’s European circuit working to extend negotiations with the Saudis to create a new for-profit entity that would combine their commercial interests. The Tour is also in the final stages of negotiations with private equity investor Strategic Sports Group.

Pelley acknowledged the fragility of the moment and his impending move: "The timing is never right with these sorts of things." But the DP World Tour chief anticipated that “things would heat up” with the Tour-PIF negotiations following the Ryder Cup, “and they have.”

“So I’m optimistic over the next couple of months,” he told reporters. “I’m definitely not leaving for three months, and that’s the primary reason. I had a conversation with the [DP World Tour] chairman and the nomination committee to stay on to try to bring the framework to a conclusion. Unifying the game is something that I think we all want. If it happens, it would be very gratifying, especially to me.”