The release of the full agreement between the PGA Tour and LIV golf backers the Saudi Public Investment Fund confirms the future of the game remains unclear and there are no answers to the questions players are asking.
While emotions have cooled somewhat after initial outrage when the shock deal was announced, players still wants answers about whether LIV will continue, if and how LIV players will be welcomed back to the PGA Tour, and what the deal with the PIF means for the game.
But the full five-page agreement, which was obtained by several golf media outlets after being provided to US Congress as part of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations inquiry into the pending deal is light on details.
What isn’t included in the agreement, at all, is LIV boss Greg Norman’s name. Norman was left out of the negotiations and only found out about the deal after it was announced and is yet to address it publicly.
Congress has invited PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan, Norman and PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan to testify at a public hearing on July 11 regarding the proposed partnership.
The document confirmed much of what was revealed by PGA Tour policy board member Jimmy Dunne, who helped broker the deal with Al-Rumayyan, mainly the newly formed “NewCo” would evaluate the profit and loss of LIV to determine it’s ongoing viability.
But while most, outside of LIV officials and some players, have viewed the move as a potential death-knell for the breakaway tour, the reference to the fight for officials world golf ranking points could be telling.
The wording in the agreement states that “The Parties will co-operate in good faith and use best efforts to secure OWGR recognition for LIV events and players under OWGR‘s criteria for considering LIV’s pending application”.
LIV put an application in June 2022 for their events to be given world ranking points, which remained a key driver for the bulk of LIV players to get into major championships beyond this year. That application has so far been denied.
But the term “best efforts”, which is also used in relation to the ongoing presence of LIV’s team golf format on the calendar, makes a hard campaign anything but a guarantee.
The document also reveals the deal was signed on May 30, a week before it was made public to the shock of most.
Masters champion Adam Scott, the chairman of the PGA Tour players advisory council, addressed that shock at a player meeting last week and he conceded that the deal was “complex” and would take some time for the future to be sorted out.
“I think as far as the deal goes, I‘m happy to wait and see how the deal points are worked out and see whether that really suits as a whole,” he said.
“Of course I have some emotional — I‘m caught up emotionally because I stayed on the PGA TOUR and this looks — and it was put to us that if we left we were never coming back, and it seems there is going to be pathways back.
“You know, eventually we‘ll find out if that’s the best for the game and how we feel. So I have some emotions about that, but kind of time often plays a big part in these things so see how it advances.”