PGA Tour sends 6-page ‘framework’ agreement on deal with LIV Golf to Congress

The framework agreement included just the basic terms of the proposed partnership that shocked the sport earlier this month

The golf world received a first look at the initial framework agreement for the new partnership between the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund on Monday night.

That framework agreement just didn’t reveal much. There are still plenty more questions than answers.

The Athletic’s Brendan Quinn and No Laying Up reported the six-page document on Monday, the same day that the Tour sent the document to the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. That committee, led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, is investigating the partnership.

“The framework outlines a future for professional golf under the PGA Tour’s leadership that benefits players, fans, and the sport," a Tour spokesman told the Washington Post. "Following the recent resolution of litigation, we’re working productively toward a definitive agreement.”

The deal was signed by Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley and PIF Governor Yasir al-Rumayyan on May 30, a week before Monahan announced the deal on CNBC. The agreement was reached after six weeks of negotiations.

While most of what was in the document either was already known or is still very vague, there were several notable bits of information, including:

  • LIV Golf’s future will be determined by the new company’s board after Monahan issues a recommendation, though the agreement states that all three leagues will co-exist. The Tour will have “full decision making authority” on golf competitions.

  • A new “communications committee” will “facilitate a smooth” transition and manage communications between the three entities.

  • The PIF will be a “premier corporate sponsor” of both the Tour and DP World Tour, and will be a title sponsor for at least one high-profile event.

  • No specific figure is listed when it comes to how much the PIF is investing into the new entity, which was called “NewCo” in the document. The PIF is reportedly preparing to invest billions.

Monahan shocked the sport earlier this month with his announcement of the partnership, something that has drawn significant criticism ever since. Monahan once invoked the 9/11 terrorist attacks when defending the Tour over LIV Golf, which led to groups like 9/11 Families United and Hall of Famer Tom Watson to call him out this month.

Monahan repeatedly called the deal a “framework agreement” when it was first announced, and there are plenty of details that still need to be figured out. Both the Tour and LIV Golf have filed motions to dismiss their litigation against each other. The framework agreement said the sides will work to find a way to allow LIV Golf members to rejoin either Tour after the 2023 season, though it’s still unclear what fine or penalty they will face.

The framework agreement didn’t have many details at all on the new proposed partnership between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf.
The framework agreement didn’t have many details at all on the new proposed partnership between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Monahan will be the CEO of the new entity and Al-Ramayyan will be the chairman, though the Tour will keep a controlling voting interest. Monahan has since stepped away from his day-to-day role with the Tour to recover from a medical situation. It is unclear when he will return.

Blumenthal’s committee’s investigation is one of several into the new deal. Two other senators asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the deal over antitrust concerns, and the Justice Department later informed the Tour that it is reviewing the matter.

The Tour’s policy board is set to meet on Tuesday, though Monahan isn’t expected to be there. There likely won’t be a formal vote, but this deal and the future of the sport will undoubtedly take up a bulk of that meeting.

While the six-page agreement is a start, there is still a to be done to actually get this partnership up and running. The deal can be terminated before the end of the year by either side, and the numerous investigations could complicate things further. And with how few details were actually included in the framework agreement, it’s clear there is a long way to go.