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PGA works to extend ‘active and productive’ Saudi merger talks

The PGA Tour worked Sunday to extend a deadline into 2024 for finalizing a merger agreement with Saudi Arabian investors, tour commissioner Jay Monahan calling talks “active and productive.”

The update to players in a memo from Monahan came hours ahead of the year-end deadline to approve a framework agreement merging the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) that finances the upstart LIV Golf League.

An update on the PGA Tour website regarding talks said the memo, which reportedly was obtained by The Golf Channel and ESPN, addressed efforts to extend the deadline into 2024.

Monahan said in his memo, according to the Golf Channel, that the PGA Tour will “continue our active and productive conversations with PIF and the DP World Tour.

“While we had initially set a deadline of December 31, 2023, to reach an agreement, we are working to extend our negotiations into next year based on the progress we have made to date.”

Monahan also said the PGA Tour had made “meaningful progress” in separate negotiations to have Strategic Sports Group (SSG) become a tour minority investor.

Monahan’s memo said the goal remains to have PIF, the DP World Tour and SSG become minority co-investors in PGA Tour Enterprises in 2024.

“These partnerships will allow us to unify, innovate and invest in the game for the benefit of the players, fans and sponsors,” Monahan said.

ESPN reported the SSG would invest $3 billion into the new entity, which would be financed to more than $7 billion if the PIF investment were also included in any deal.

The PGA Tour has been negotiating with PIF since June with a stated December 31 deadline on final details of a merger agreement, the announcement of which stunned PGA Tour players and led to players demanding and getting greater input in final approval of the deal.

Spain’s Jon Rahm, the reigning Masters champion, jumped from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf in early December, serving notice that the Saudi-backed series and its plans for a 2024 campaign could pull even more talent from the PGA Tour as it did in 2022 for its inaugural season.

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