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Report: PGA Tour turns down sponsor with Saudi ties

May 12, 2023; McKinney, Texas, USA; Mackenzie Hughes watches his shot from the 17th tee during the second round of the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

AT&T wants to end its sponsorship of the AT&T Byron Nelson following this week’s tournament, and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan already has nixed a deal with a potential replacement, Golfweek reported.

AT&T is contracted as the sponsor through 2024, and the PGA Tour has been seeking a replacement. In fact, it had a deal in place with aerospace and defense contractor Raytheon Technologies, but Monahan rejected it because of the company’s business dealings with the Saudi Arabian government, per Golfweek.

Last summer, the U.S. State Department approved a $3 billion agreement between Raytheon and Saudi Arabia to send 300 Patriot missiles to the country.

The PGA Tour is at odds with the upstart LIV Golf League, which is funded primarily by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

One tournament director told Golfweek that Monahan made the right decision.

“The optics were not good,” the director said on the condition of anonymity. “I give Jay credit for stepping in and making the right call.”

AT&T has been the title sponsor of the Dallas-area Byron Nelson tournament since 2015. It will remain the sponsor of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

–Field Level Media

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