PGA, LIV tours to merge

cshea

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I’m sure there are logistics to deal with but I just can’t imagine making even the top guys go back to qualifying, maybe I’m wrong.

If you pretended they didn’t go to LIV but instead played the PGA tour and missed every cut during that gap, how many would still be eligible?
Membership and eligibility are kind of two different things. There are probably 5-10 or so LIV players that would still have membership based on past achivements or recent wins.

Tournament eligibility is based on the priority rankings and that is tied to current performance.
 

radsoxfan

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Eligibility is extremely complicated so that would be difficult to figure out. The problem is that the number of cards is limited and there aren't just a bunch of spots left unfilled by those who left. My guess, and it's just a personal guess, is that most will play their way back in via sponsor's exemptions and not all of them will be eligible for those.
Gotcha.

Without getting too far into the weeds then, my hunch is that those with significant recent past achievements will end up back on tour sooner rather than later. However that plays out.

Those on the fringe (even if likely a bit better than the bottom of the current PGA ) will have to go back to qualifying and knock those guys out slowly over time.

Eventually things will equilibrate and the best guys will be playing but it'll probably take a few years.
 

mauf

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If I were king, I’d give all LIV golfers who were formerly PGA Tour members a Korn Ferry tour card, and I’d waive any sanctions specifically tied to leaving one tour for the other. Otherwise, I’d play it as it lies under existing rules. So the returning LIV guys would be in roughly the same place they would be if they had taken a leave of absence without any medical or other exemption.

I believe the result of this would be that Koepka, Bryson, Cam and DJ would get their tour cards back immediately, but most other LIV guys would have to put in at least a year on the Korn Ferry tour. (And I’d add extra slots to that tour for the next few years so lower-end guys don’t get screwed.) I think this would go a ways toward assuaging concerns about fairness, while still ensuring that the PGA Tour features the best golfers in the world.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Tom Watson not thrilled with the merger: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/tom-watson-s-open-letter-to-pga-tour-commissioner-jay-monahan

There are many unanswered questions to date, which I hope will be addressed with the players by Tour management at this week's Travelers tour event. What does acceptance of this partnership mean to the Tour? What do we get? What do we give up? Why was this deal done in such secrecy and why wasn't even one of the players who sits on the Tour's Policy Board included? A matter this profound deserves thorough vetting by a representative group of stakeholders which include those, who in the end, define the public image and emotional connection with the PGA Tour.
 

cshea

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Some recent developments:
  • Monahan announced he is returning to work on 7/17
  • Randall Stephenson, former chairman & CEO of AT&T, resigned his position as a director on the PGA Tour policy board citing concerns over the deal and Saudi human rights track record.
Today, the Tour is appearing in front of a Senate subcommittee. Tour COO Ron Price and Jimmy Dunne will be representing the Tour. Al-Rumayyan and Norman declined their invitation to appear.
 

cshea

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Nothing too juicy yet, but apparently there was a side agreement in this whole thing to fire Norman.

Saudi investment "north of $1 billion" accoriding to Price
 

cshea

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Have not watched but judging by the tweets from those who are, seems like this is a waste of time, which is probably to be expected from the government. Mostly political grandstanding.

Skimmed the document release and there's some jokes and meme's to be made but nothing newsworthy, IMO. There's a document related to Vision 2030 in there, emails/whats app exchanges between the principals, the red-lining back and forth of the framework agreement and then some of the emails relating to the anouncement of the deal. There was part of a "exchange of ideas" presentation that made it in relating to things LIV brought to the table for discussion but ultimately none of it made the framework agreement. They proposed Tiger and Rory owning LIV franchises and playing 10 events a year, PIF/Aramco sponsoring one or two elevated events, playing one in KSA, Yasir Al-Rumayyan proposed getting an ANGC membership out of the deal, etc. Fun "what if's" but nothing that will actually happen.
 

ehaz

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Mostly grandstanding bullshit. But my favorite part of the hearing was when Price repeatedly said “it’s not a merger” and “we believe it doesn’t violate the antitrust laws” and then less that like 2 minutes later says about getting rid of Norman: “LIV Golf's assets will move into a new subsidiary, controlled by the PGA Tour. Those events will be managed by the PGA Tour. It would make no sense to bring in that type of executive."
 

cshea

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The most interesting and newsworth part of the document dump is it appears the PIF and Tour couldn't agree on who controls the future of LIV.

View: https://twitter.com/NoLayingUp/status/1678870355086016513?s=20


It's in the NLU thread but basically the back and forth went like this:
  • Tour put in language stating the Tour would make the final determination on what happens with LIV.
  • PIF deleted it
  • Tour added language back changing it to the NewCo board will made the determination on LIV and that PIF/Al-Rumayyan will not have veto rights around it.
  • PIF just deleted the "not," so Al-Rumayyan would have veto rights regarding a LIV decision
  • The language got taken out entirely and wasn't included in the signed framework agreement.
The Tour mesaging has been that they're going to nuke LIV if this goes through but that seems very much not agreed upon yet.
 

jercra

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The most interesting and newsworth part of the document dump is it appears the PIF and Tour couldn't agree on who controls the future of LIV.

View: https://twitter.com/NoLayingUp/status/1678870355086016513?s=20


It's in the NLU thread but basically the back and forth went like this:
  • Tour put in language stating the Tour would make the final determination on what happens with LIV.
  • PIF deleted it
  • Tour added language back changing it to the NewCo board will made the determination on LIV and that PIF/Al-Rumayyan will not have veto rights around it.
  • PIF just deleted the "not," so Al-Rumayyan would have veto rights regarding a LIV decision
  • The language got taken out entirely and wasn't included in the signed framework agreement.
The Tour mesaging has been that they're going to nuke LIV if this goes through but that seems very much not agreed upon yet.
Where have you seen that as the TOUR messaging?
 

cshea

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Where have you seen that as the TOUR messaging?
It hasn’t been officially communicated but Monahan and others have said in interviews that they (the Tour) will control LIV. Rory said that was his understanding, and he likely got that from Jay and Jimmy. It hardly seems to be the case.
 

cshea

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Amid pressure from the DOJ, the Tour and PIF have dropped the non-solicitation clause in their framework agreement.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/13/sports/golf/pga-tour-liv-saudi-merger-deal.html

The PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, facing pressure from the Justice Department about their ambitions for a new company to shape global golf, have in recent days abandoned a crucial provision of their tentative deal: a promise not to recruit each other’s players.

Three people familiar with the change, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential negotiations, signaled that the decision was an early casualty of an antitrust review by Justice Department regulators, who are expected to decide in the coming months whether to try to block the transaction.
 

cshea

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He shot a 64 today too. Maybe DGAF Rory mode unlocked? I mean, he was like the 3rd best player in the world when he was on the front lines. Now that he's been taken off the front line, maybe he really goes off?

I also have been trying to game out what happens if this thing falls apart. I mean, with the non-solicitation thing dropped what's to stop Tour players from jumping to get the bag now and just figuring they'll come back if/when the 2 sides figure it out?
 

koufax32

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He shot a 64 today too. Maybe DGAF Rory mode unlocked? I mean, he was like the 3rd best player in the world when he was on the front lines. Now that he's been taken off the front line, maybe he really goes off?

I also have been trying to game out what happens if this thing falls apart. I mean, with the non-solicitation thing dropped what's to stop Tour players from jumping to get the bag now and just figuring they'll come back if/when the 2 sides figure it out?
Am I remembering correctly that DJ, Mickelson, et al have lost some sponsors from their LIV move?

DJ and Adidas “mutually agreed to part ways.” I wonder if/when/how long until these sponsors and golfers reunite and at what price point. IOW, it remains to be seen how much sponsorship revenue will be lost because of their decisions. That could impact future decisions to bail on the PGA in a scenario like the one you posited.
 

Comfortably Lomb

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I also have been trying to game out what happens if this thing falls apart. I mean, with the non-solicitation thing dropped what's to stop Tour players from jumping to get the bag now and just figuring they'll come back if/when the 2 sides figure it out?
They could do that all along. The parties included the non-solicitation provision in the proposed agreement. Easiest thing in the world to remove since neither the PGA Tour or the Saudis care at all about LIV if the deal goes through. I guess they have to pretend for a while to keep up appearances.
 

jercra

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It hasn’t been officially communicated but Monahan and others have said in interviews that they (the Tour) will control LIV. Rory said that was his understanding, and he likely got that from Jay and Jimmy. It hardly seems to be the case.
That's not the same thing at all as saying it will be "nuked". Controlled, yes. Nuked? Who knows?
 

jercra

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They could do that all along. The parties included the non-solicitation provision in the proposed agreement. Easiest thing in the world to remove since neither the PGA Tour or the Saudis care at all about LIV if the deal goes through. I guess they have to pretend for a while to keep up appearances.
This seems to be the popular opinion but saying the PIF doesn't care about LIV going forward is demonstrably wrong just based on the communications in the Senate investigation document. The fact that control of it was argued back and forth shows that they very much care about it.
 

jk333

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This seems to be the popular opinion but saying the PIF doesn't care about LIV going forward is demonstrably wrong just based on the communications in the Senate investigation document. The fact that control of it was argued back and forth shows that they very much care about it.
I think it’s just a bargaining chip. They both care, because when it’s gone so is the leverage.

edit- my point is PIF doesn’t care about liv, but rather using LIV until they get the deal they want. But you’re correct that unless/until that happens, they absolutely care about LIV
 

cshea

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That's not the same thing at all as saying it will be "nuked". Controlled, yes. Nuked? Who knows?
Nuke was the wrong word. A talking point from the Tour was that they were going to control LIV through this agreement. In public, They implied it would be gone. “We’ll take a look at the numbers, don’t see how it could run concurrently to put Tour…” from Jay. “My understanding is Jay controls LIV and it’ll be gone” type stuff from Rory.

However, based on the document dump, control of LIV seems very much undecided. There’s the back and forth in the NLU tweet and there was a memo from Ron Price to Jay bullet pointing Al-Rumayyan’s concerns, 2 of which surrounded control of LIV
 
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TFP

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essentially evens it out in the board room. 12 board seats, 6 players 6 non players
One of the non-player board seats is non-voting though, so essentially players have the majority now.
 

voidfunkt

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So...this whole PGA Tour/PIF deal appears to be dead. There's been no news about the PIF investment or the MOU since July. It's now being reported that FSG is leading a consortium of sports owners in a bid to invest in the PGA Tour.
Hard to tell what's going on. Rory just resigned from the board the other day too. I think all parties have decided the stfu approach is for the best at the moment.
 

cshea

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Monahan is in Saudi Arabia to try and hammer out a deal with Al-Rumayyan. They had lengthy phone conversations recently that progressed the talks.

Should note Keith Pelley, the DP World Tour CEO is leaving to head up MLSE (Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment) but staying on with the DP World Tour through April to try and help get this across the finish line.

View: https://twitter.com/JoshACarpenter/status/1747350698239332780?s=20


No idea what the finalized agreement looks like. No mention here of the FSG investment but we'll see.

No clue what pro golf looks like after the dust settles but one theory, from Rory so perhaps informed to a degree, is a global tour of the top 50-70 guys and then LIV becomes a seasonal side gig.
 

jercra

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Monahan is in Saudi Arabia to try and hammer out a deal with Al-Rumayyan. They had lengthy phone conversations recently that progressed the talks.

Should note Keith Pelley, the DP World Tour CEO is leaving to head up MLSE (Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment) but staying on with the DP World Tour through April to try and help get this across the finish line.

View: https://twitter.com/JoshACarpenter/status/1747350698239332780?s=20


No idea what the finalized agreement looks like. No mention here of the FSG investment but we'll see.

No clue what pro golf looks like after the dust settles but one theory, from Rory so perhaps informed to a degree, is a global tour of the top 50-70 guys and then LIV becomes a seasonal side gig.
This is all just my opinion but, no one knows what it will look like. Rory's theory was what Rory would like to see. It's in no way what the 70th to 250th ranked player wants to see. It's definitely not what ESPN, CBS, and NBC want to see (less golf with fewer players on during overnight hours). It will take a lot more discussion with a lot more people to know the shape of professional golf. I wouldn't expect big changes structurally until at least '26.
 

cshea

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The Globe reports the SSG consortium, led by FSG, is closing in on a nearly $3 billion investment for a minority stake in PGA Tour Enterprises (the new company). Deal could be announced this week.

The article states that any role for PIF/LIV in the new company is still "uncertin."

If you want to do some dot connecting, there's things that line up for a big announcement this week. Signature event at Pebble so all the top players are there, 3 of the 4 sponsor invites went to policy board members, no football this week, Jay and Yassir have been meeting a bunch according to the jet tracker people. Would seem like things line up for the big reveal this week.

View: https://twitter.com/BostonGlobe/status/1752223366780461562?s=20
 

Comfortably Lomb

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As a fan, don't really care much about the money and am more interested in what the final product will look like.
Somehow worse for consumers? More coverage on cable or subscription services? More erectile dysfunction drug commercial breaks? If they think there's multi-billion dollar investment worthy profit to be made, while distributing more money to the players, that money is coming from somewhere.
 

jercra

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Somehow worse for consumers? More coverage on cable or subscription services? More erectile dysfunction drug commercial breaks? If they think there's multi-billion dollar investment worthy profit to be made, while distributing more money to the players, that money is coming from somewhere.
It will not be from more ads or more coverage. The broadcast deals are done for 8 more years, and you'd sell $3B more in ads. There will be large scale structural changes within the TOUR, but it's likely to revolve around things that don't already exist or don't really impact the consumer in general (buying more courses/property, more/less control over the tournaments/hospitality, prize money, charitable contributions, etc.). Once the PIF deal is done, that's when the discussions about the big changes to the things consumers care about will start to get discussed in full. For now, the biggest change is that the players now have long-term skin in the game, so it's less likely they bolt for short-term money to LIV.
 

TFP

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Cool, so the TV product is gonna continue to be terrible (but at least it won't get worse!) while the players and execs get even richer. As a once die hard pro golf fan I'll continue to watch less and less week to week going forward.

Absolutely nothing about this is better for the fans of pro golf. It's just rich people getting richer. Which is fine for them, and good on them for pulling it off, but I've got better things to spend my tv viewing time on.
 

IdiotKicker

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Cool, so the TV product is gonna continue to be terrible (but at least it won't get worse!) while the players and execs get even richer. As a once die hard pro golf fan I'll continue to watch less and less week to week going forward.

Absolutely nothing about this is better for the fans of pro golf. It's just rich people getting richer. Which is fine for them, and good on them for pulling it off, but I've got better things to spend my tv viewing time on.
What are the biggest things that would improve the TV product? I say this as someone who watches the majors and will flip on other tournaments throughout the year but am not a regular viewer today.
 

TFP

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What are the biggest things that would improve the TV product? I say this as someone who watches the majors and will flip on other tournaments throughout the year but am not a regular viewer today.
Fewer commercials/ads is far and away number 1. The times when they go ad free for extended periods it's a dramatic increase in watchability. 33% of all coverage is commercial breaks (18 mins per hour). It's impossible to broadcast captivating golf with that kind of ad load.

There are other things on the margins but nothing would impact it nearly like that. It trickles down to the rest of the broadcast.
 

TFP

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I mean this is the game right here. The bolding is mine.

SGS is investing an initial $1.5 billion into PGA TOUR Enterprises and will provide strategic focus on maximizing revenue generation for the benefit of the players and on finding opportunities to enhance the game of golf across the world.
 

cshea

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CBS has improved their coverage substantially over the past 2 or so seasons but the ad load is still a problem. And they squeeze more in during "playing through."

NBC / Golf Channel might as well just broadcast a giant middle finger to fans for 4 hours.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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CBS has improved their coverage substantially over the past 2 or so seasons but the ad load is still a problem. And they squeeze more in during "playing through."

NBC / Golf Channel might as well just broadcast a giant middle finger to fans for 4 hours.
Agreed on NBC. Golf is falling into the same modern conundrum of short attention spans that baseball is...the problem is improving pace of play won't get them down to 2 1/2 hours per round. The good news is if the broadcast partners do it right you should be dizzy from going shot to shot, so there should not be a lack of action. (Although see NBC above.)

I've always thought the route to make events more meaningful is to scale back the schedule a bit, so the ratio of tournaments with top players is higher. Then use the "lesser" tournaments for unique setups, like LIV-style team play, scrambles, etc. To mix up the gameplay and inherently lead to more interaction between the players and the spectators. Instead of seeing some white bread #180 ranked player, viewers would see more of their personality and I think the median age of viewers may drop from maybe 70 to 50 at that point (lol). The grind just to make the PGA Tour is real, and it kind of hardens the players who do go on to the tour. To have some varied events could help to break through that wall to make players have a little more fun, instead of just punching the clock to go into their grind.
 

cshea

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Agreed on NBC. Golf is falling into the same modern conundrum of short attention spans that baseball is...the problem is improving pace of play won't get them down to 2 1/2 hours per round. The good news is if the broadcast partners do it right you should be dizzy from going shot to shot, so there should not be a lack of action. (Although see NBC above.)

I've always thought the route to make events more meaningful is to scale back the schedule a bit, so the ratio of tournaments with top players is higher. Then use the "lesser" tournaments for unique setups, like LIV-style team play, scrambles, etc. To mix up the gameplay and inherently lead to more interaction between the players and the spectators. Instead of seeing some white bread #180 ranked player, viewers would see more of their personality and I think the median age of viewers may drop from maybe 70 to 50 at that point (lol). The grind just to make the PGA Tour is real, and it kind of hardens the players who do go on to the tour. To have some varied events could help to break through that wall to make players have a little more fun, instead of just punching the clock to go into their grind.
I think this is probably something close to what the final product will be if they get the PIF Investment. There will be a sclaed back Tour for the elite guys. Probably looks something similar to the signature events this year, maybe spread out a bit and at new locations.

Then the non-signature weeks will look similar to what they do now and the mules will try to qualify for the elite Tour those weeks. LIV or some sort of team component sprinkled in throughout the fall or other down periods but will co-exist. Players who went to LIV won't get equity in the new company but will be able to play both. One big happy family. Except for the mules, probably.

As for the TV product, I've always thought they should just put ads on the screen during coverage to cut down on the actual breaks. Feels like it wouldn't be overly intrusive to have a Titleist logo on the screen somewhere during play. It'd be annoying at first but then everyone would get used to it and theoretically could reduce the commercial time (althought knowing them they'll take this, add the on-screen advertising, and maintain the same ad load).
 

Comfortably Lomb

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Fewer commercials/ads is far and away number 1. The times when they go ad free for extended periods it's a dramatic increase in watchability. 33% of all coverage is commercial breaks (18 mins per hour). It's impossible to broadcast captivating golf with that kind of ad load.

There are other things on the margins but nothing would impact it nearly like that. It trickles down to the rest of the broadcast.
I've been thinking about this recently. So little of my video consumption is broadcast television now that the ad breaks are becoming increasingly annoying and distracting. I'm finding myself putting on cable almost never at this point.

At least with baseball and football they're wedged into times that makes sense--between innings, pitching changes, timeouts, etc.--but with golf things are motoring along on the course while we're getting the same private jet and prostate drug commercials for the 100000th time.
 

voidfunkt

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As for the TV product, I've always thought they should just put ads on the screen during coverage to cut down on the actual breaks. Feels like it wouldn't be overly intrusive to have a Titleist logo on the screen somewhere during play. It'd be annoying at first but then everyone would get used to it and theoretically could reduce the commercial time (althought knowing them they'll take this, add the on-screen advertising, and maintain the same ad load).
This. Just split screen occasionally for ads. There's plenty of downtime in golf too where they're just waiting for a shot to happen.

The broadcast format for modern golf is really bad. I think The Masters has nailed it with things like featured groups, follow a player, and certain holes getting coverage. The modern PGA needs to embrace streaming more and offer an app for watching and then wedge ads into that properly.
 

TFP

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I've been thinking about this recently. So little of my video consumption is broadcast television now that the ad breaks are becoming increasingly annoying and distracting. I'm finding myself putting on cable almost never at this point.
This is a topic for another thread probably but this has been at the forefront of my brain recently as well. EVERYTHING I watch or consume now is just bombarded with ads. And ridiculous, low quality ads for shit that shouldn't be advertised. Whether it's terrible ads on Twitter that I don't even want to share, ads for drugs/insurance/deodorant constantly on YoutubeTV, or ads for god knows what on Youtube and other streaming apps. It's just a nonstop barrage and really has me wondering why I'm bothering to consume anything anymore.

In the past at least the stuff in commercials was normal, like cars, beverages, food, etc. I didn't like it, but I understood and they weren't terrible and didn't feel like I was under siege. Now it's everywhere, or at least it just feels that way. Maybe I'm getting old but it hit home for me like a month ago and I can't get over it.

Rant over.