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Execs: PGA Tour to be ‘clear leader’ of new alliance

Dec 5, 2022; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan addresses the crowd during the DraftKings Sportsbook groundbreaking ceremony at the TPC Scottsdale Champions Course on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022. Mandatory Credit: Alex Gould/The Republic

Pga Sportsbook Groundbreaking At Tpc Scottsdale
Credit: Alex Gould / USA TODAY NETWORK

PGA Tour leadership is making a concerted effort to assuage its rank and file of anxiety surrounding the proposed merger with LIV Golf, culminating with two executives saying Wednesday the Tour will be the “clear leader” of the alliance.

Tour interim co-leaders, executive vice president Tyler Dennis and COO Ron Price, told Sports Illustrated that the Tour “will be in charge” of the new structure and the future of golf.

The assertion comes a day after the PGA Tour policy board assured players that they will have the authority to approve any final agreement on the proposed alliance between the Tour, LIV Golf and DP World Tour.

Dennis and Price, who are running the Tour in the absence of ailing commissioner Jay Monahan, were clear that the Tour would be the guiding force in the path forward of the alliance.

“The primary question is actually also the primary safeguard, that the PGA Tour feels is important — and by the way, the other parties do as well — that the PGA Tour is the clear leader of this moving forward and gives the clear direction on shaping the future of this,” Dennis told SI.

Dennis and Price spoke with SI at Detroit Golf Club, site of this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic. In a follow-up, the pair said Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), sees it the same way.

“And we wouldn’t move forward without that,” Dennis told SI. “As our players start to understand that, they start feeling better about the transaction. And that’s very clear that the PGA Tour will be in charge.”

But when asked about whether all players would compete on a single tour, SI noted that Price took four seconds to answer.

“I think you have to go back to what was announced and the spirit of the framework,” Price told SI. “And that’s simply that working together and working in a way that’s unified is going to be better for the sport, better for the professional game, better for the PGA Tour.”

The Policy Board on Tuesday released a statement after a meeting at Detroit Golf Club, saying that Tour brass has “now begun a new phase of negotiations to determine if the tour can reach a definitive agreement that is in the best interests of our players, fans, sponsors, partners, and the game overall.”

All with input from player directors, currently composed of Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy, Charley Hoffman, Peter Malnati and Webb Simpson.

“If future negotiations lead to a proposed agreement, it would need approval by the tour’s policy board, which includes player directors,” the statement went on. “In the meantime, we are all committed to the safeguards in the framework agreement that ensure the PGA Tour would lead and maintain control of this potential new commercial entity.”

–Field Level Media

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