Three weeks ago, global news was rocked by the CNBC broadcast of Jay Monahan and Yasir Al-Rumayyan sitting side by side like old pals announcing a forthcoming merger (or new alliance?) of the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and the Saudi Arabian Public Invest Fund (PIF). Sworn enemies no more, at least for now. And where was Keith Pelly?
We were left with far more questions than answers, including these thought provoking queries where Balls & Bogeys asked the tough ones like: Are players going to be allowed to wear shorts at events in 2024?
Some loyalists still playing on the PGA Tour felt betrayed (Rory), while the LIV Golfers gave off a “I told you so” vibe all the way leading right up to the U.S. Open and Jay Monahan’s sudden leave of absence (all the best, Jay!).
Then, another bombshell on June 26.
THE FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT. WOWZER. IT ACTUALLY DID EXIST.
You can read the full document here. Don’t worry, though it’s legal paperwork, only a few minutes of your time is needed to review. In other words, all of us are still in the dark, but have some new words to drop at the dinner table like effectuate and furtherance. Grad school-level vocab stuff.
The framework agreement is signed by the heads of the three parties involved and was first obtained by NoLayingUp.com and The Athletic. Basically, the news outlets reported this document was sent to the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) on Monday night. Now a July 11 hearing in Washington is on the books and Monahan, Al-Rumayyan and Greg Norman (current/former) LIV Golf CEO have been invited to attend by Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) to testify (since he opened the investigation).
Oh, Mr. Great White D-bag, you weren’t named in the agreement, and the PGA talking heads haven’t spoken your name in any of their interviews, but you do get to participate in what surely will be an awkward hearing in front of Congress and a bigger live TV audience than LIV has ever played in front of.
Sports Illustrated’s Bob Harig wrote this nice outline about the agreement:
- It describes the composition of the board of the new for-profit venture now being referred to as NewCo but states that there will be the creation of a “communications committee’’ that potentially could have influence. Huh? “Crisis” management folks?
- PIF has the right of first refusal on capital raised by NewCo and will be “a premier corporate sponsor” of the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and other international tours, and that those tours will “work together collaboratively to identify a high profile event for which PIF or its designee(s) will make a financial investment to serve as title sponsor.”
- The agreement outlines no initial investment amount from the PIF. Part of the process of the agreement is getting valuations for the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf, including each entities assets. The PGA Tour is not putting cash into the new company.
There is A LOT of “good faith” in there. Literally. I lost count how many times that phrase was used. So, it feels like we are back to square one with no horizon in sight.
Look, we’re not legal experts here but the framework lacks any sort of substance to let the people know what the hell is going to happen in professional golf in 2024 and beyond. PIF (mainly Al-Rumayyan) is going to run the show but tries to imply the PGA Tour has some power left. Monahan is CEO of NewCo and can flex his muscles (but on a leash). And no one really cares how the DP World Tour feels about this whole concoction. Also, everyone wants to make money. Lots of money. Don’t let the multiple lines of “for the good of global golf” fool you. This is about grabbing that bag. The players who didn’t jet to LIV are going to want to get paid; and if some of that cash was put into the kitty by Bryson, Brooks, Reed and Lefty, all the better. Only cash will truly heal open wounds.
Tom Watson let his feelings be known with an open letter to Monahan. Davis Love III sent his open letter to tour members encouraging them to be patient and let the negotiations play out. Hopefully, Big Cat, otherwise known as GOAT, and called Eldrick by his mum, speaks soon too. But get your popcorn ready for July 11. A Senate Subcommittee hearing just became primetime TV.