PGA Tour player-directors, LIV Golf boss slated to meet after The Players

Perhaps this significant development points to some progress in negotiations between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf.

PGA Tour player directors will reportedly meet with Yasir al-Rumayyan, the governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), early next week, according to an exclusive report from Eamon Lynch of Golfweek.

Should this meeting occur, the details of which are being kept secretive, it would serve as an introduction between the PIF and player directors.

Of course, the PIF has poured billions into LIV Golf since its launch in 2022. Since then, professional golf has been divided, with LIV luring many of the PGA Tour’s top stars to join its circuit.

But Lynch reports that Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay, Adam Scott, Peter Malnati, and Webb Simpson—the six player directors—are being encouraged to meet with al-Rumayyan. Lynch also noted that a meeting could happen as early as Monday in Ponta Vedra Beach, Florida, where The Players Championship will wrap up on Sunday.

Each player director is in The Players Championship field, except for Woods.

Jay Monahan during the second round of the 2024 Players Championship.
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Should this meeting occur on Monday, it would mark a pivotal point in the negotiations between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, which have not been very fruitful since Jun. 6, 2023.

On that first Tuesday in June, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and al-Rumayyan shocked the world, announcing a ‘framework agreement’ while sitting alongside each other on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

Then, when speaking to reporters at The Players Championship this week, Monahan revealed he met al-Rumayyan in Saudi Arabia this past January. Perhaps that encounter paved the way for this potential meeting between the PIF’s leader and the player directors.

“I recently met with the governor of the PIF, Yasir al-Rumayyan, and our negotiations are accelerating as we spend time together,” Monahan said on Mar. 12, 2023, two days before the opening round of The Players.

“While we have several key issues that we still need to work through, we have a shared vision to quiet the noise and unlock golf’s worldwide potential.”

The ‘framework agreement’ also listed Dec. 31, 2023, as a deadline to strike a more formal deal, but that date has passed.

“It’s going to take time,” Monahan said. “I do believe that negotiating a deal with PIF is the best outcome. Obviously, it has to be the right deal for both sides, like any situation or negotiation…

“But however we end up, I think that we’re not going to be able to satisfy everyone, and that goes for both sides. But what we’re trying to do is to get to the best possible outcome again for the TOUR and for the game, and I do think that that’s achievable.”

No matter what happens between the PGA Tour and PIF, Monahan is right. Not everyone will be satisfied.

And that mantra has been reflected among the player directors themselves.

“I don’t think that it’s [an agreement with PIF] needed,” Spieth said ahead of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in early February.

Jordan Spieth, PGA Tour, The Players Championship

Jordan Spieth during the second round of The 2024 Players Championship.
Photo by James Gilbert/PGA Tour via Getty Images

“At this point, if the PIF were interested in coming in on terms that our members like and/or the economic terms are at or not beyond [the Strategic Sports Group’s]… I think that’s where the discussions will start.”

The Strategic Sports Group (SSG) is a consortium of American sports owners that will invest up to $3 billion in the PGA Tour’s new for-profit entity. That said, SSG’s commitment still leaves the door open for the PIF to join as a partner in golf’s new world order.

“The conversations with SSG have enhanced the likelihood of us reaching a successful conclusion [with the PIF],” Monahan added.

“When you bring in a group of investors in that consortium that combined have over 200 years of managing professional sports franchises in the U.S. and internationally, and you bring in that level of expertise, I think that that is attractive to the PIF… There are a finite number of athletes, and this is a point in time, a unique point in time where unification ultimately puts the sport in the best possible position to take advantage of this growth on a go-forward basis.”

Considering all of this, Monahan declined to offer specifics on where negotiations currently stand.

Spieth declined to offer specifics about this meeting too.

“I’m not sure that I can say much more other than we’re being encouraged to potentially meet with them, but at the same time we probably feel like our membership should know the timing and what could happen,” Spieth said after his second round at The Players.

“I think there’s not a whole lot more I can say about that, but we are being encouraged obviously which I think is probably a good thing that the entire board should if there’s going to be any potential for a negotiation.”

Understandably, an arrangement of this magnitude cannot be dealt with publicly.

But perhaps this meeting with al-Rumayyan points to something rising on the horizon: a unified game that so many fans long for.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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