PGA and LIV mergerThe deal increases Saudi Arabia’s influence in golf

The PGA Tour and LIV Golf, a rebel league run by billions of dollars in aid from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, said on Tuesday they had agreed to a merger, ending a bitter and costly battle for supremacy of men’s professional golf that had divided top players. Everyday fans and corporate sponsors.

The merger represented the most astonishing success to date of Saudi Arabia’s ambition to become a player in global sports. Yet unlike the purchase of a Premier League soccer team or sponsoring events as diverse as boxing cards and Formula 1 auto races, its billion-dollar game for control of golf seemed from the start as if it was nothing short of an attempt to seize one’s control. Holistic sports – one that has held a rare place in the sports world in the United States for more than a century.
LIV golf had sparked a crisis for the PGA Tour, which has scrambled to reinvigorate its economic model as it has seen some of its biggest star switch circuits. But LIV itself has also been the target of sharp criticism, immense skepticism and bitter litigation. Although not much is clear about the operation of the circuit — many of the documents that will reveal details are subject to a court seal — some information about its structure and its operation has been revealed in legal filings, interviews, business records, and internal documents reviewed by The New York Times. And some LIV critics argue that the sovereign wealth fund is using the game to divert attention from Saudi Arabia’s record of human rights abuses.
Now, by merging with the PGA Tour, LIV Golf has achieved a milestone that, after a long struggle, especially in the United States, where the PGA Tour has long dominated men’s professional golf, guarantees its impact in the future of the sport. The governor of the Public Investment Fund, the Saudi state unit Bankrolling LIV, will become president of the new golf organization, which was created so quickly that it was announced even before it had a name.

Here are some other notable parts of the deal:

According to the statement announcing the merger, the public investment fund will also have the right to refuse the first on new investments in the merged tour. This opens up the possibility for Saudi Arabia to take more ownership of the game in the future, with the tour requiring more capital raising.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, the Wealth Fund and the PGA Tour said the former rivals would “implement plans to develop these joint commercial businesses, accelerate greater fan engagement and already ongoing development initiatives.
Under the terms of the temporary agreement, the public investment fund will first be the exclusive investor in established tours as well as mixed operations, including DP World Tour and LV. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, expected to be the chief executive of the new group, has appointed Wealth Fund Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan as its chairman.

The Trump family, an early and eager partner of the Saudi-backed chain, adopted victory after the merger was announced.

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