Skip to content

PGA Tour-PIF Framework Agreement: Where is men's golf heading one year on from shock announcement?

June 6 marks one year since PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and Saudi Public Investment Fund governor Yasir Al Rumayyan announced a Framework Agreement to reunite men's golf; Yet 12 months on, negotiations remain ongoing over finalising a deal to bring the sport back together

Credit - AP Photo/PA/PGA/LIV/DP World Tour

A year ago today, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and Saudi Public Investment Fund governor Yasir Al Rumayyan sat side-by-side on American TV channel CNBC and announced a Framework Agreement had been reached to reunite men’s professional golf.

It was a bolt from the blue which sent shockwaves and initial confusion through the sport but gave hope that the divide between the traditional circuits of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, and the upstart LIV Golf league could be bridged.

Yet, 12 months on from Monahan and Al Rumayyan's bombshell interview, the men's professional game remains split in two as negotiations to finalise the Framework Agreement rumble on. Here, we take a look at what has happened and what comes next...

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

David Howell and Dame Laura Davies give their view on the growing amount of money within golf and whether it will eventually have a negative impact on the game

What had happened before the Framework Agreement?

The launch of LIV Golf, backed by the financial might of the Saudi Public Investment Fund, in 2022 as a rival to the traditional North American and European tours opened up a split in the game and led to plenty of acrimony on both sides between those who stayed loyal and those who defected.

Players who decided to jump ship for LIV, which included big names such as Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, were banned from competing on the PGA and DP World Tours as a result.

LIV players became ineligible to compete for Team Europe in the Ryder Cup too due to eligibility rules only allowing DP World Tour members to be part of the squad. Brooks Koepka was, however, chosen as a captain's pick for Team USA in Rome last year as their eligibility rules are different.

Both sides engaged in legal battles as well, although golf's four majors took a neutral stance and continued to allow players to compete whatever tour they played on as long as they met the respective qualification criteria.

Also See:

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Jon Rahm believes there is room for both the PGA Tour and LIV Golf

Behind the scenes though, discussions began over bringing the game back together. The initial meeting between Al Rumayyan and PGA Tour board members believed to be Jimmy Dunne and Ed Herlihy was followed by a meeting between the PIF governor and Monahan in London.

In the space of seven weeks, the Framework Agreement was hashed out without the involvement of any players and only a handful of people being aware of what was being discussed.

How did players react to the announcement?

As far as those on the PGA Tour side of the divide were concerned, emotions mostly ranged from confusion to anger and hostility towards commissioner Monahan, given the fact the majority had no idea about any negotiations taking place prior to the news breaking.

After sending out a letter to the Tour's members, Monahan laid out what was happening at a hastily arranged meeting the day prior to the first round of last year's RBC Canadian Open. That did little to quell dissent, though, and there were reports some players called on him to resign during that gathering.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

A look back on how Rory McIlroy's stance on LIV Golf appears to have changed over the course of the last two years

Even the likes of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, both of whom had been staunch defenders of golf's established order were taken by surprise, but although McIlroy admitted he felt like something of a sacrificial lamb, he tried to see the positives.

"When I try to remove myself from the situation and I look at the bigger picture, I think ultimately this is going to be good for the game of professional golf. It unifies it and secures its future," McIlroy said following the announcement.

Even so, some players felt a sense of betrayal and England's Callum Tarren was among those to speak out, telling Golf Channel: "The guys who stayed loyal to the PGA Tour, it's kind of a kick in the teeth to them.

"Obviously Rory [McIlroy] was a huge advocate of the PGA Tour, and now it kind of looks like all his hard work and sticking up for the PGA Tour was left by the wayside."

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Tiger Woods has previously spoken on how they are exploring pathways back for players who left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf

None of the players on the LIV side were any the wiser before the Framework Agreement was announced either, but Mickelson posted on social media: "An awesome day today."

What has happened since and is a deal closer to being finalised?

A date of December 31, 2023 was set to conclude the deal to bring men's professional golf back together, but that passed without the Framework Agreement being ratified and negotiations are still ongoing.

Monahan gave his most recent update on negotiations ahead of The Players Championship in March where he insisted progress was being made.

"Our negotiations are accelerating as we spend time together," Monahan said. "While we have several key issues that we still need to work through, we have a shared vision to quiet the noise and unlock golf's worldwide potential.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Rich Beem believes PGA Tour's partnership with Strategic Sports Group is a 'positive step' in helping players feel like they are part of the tour

"It's going to take time, but I reiterate what I said at the Tour Championship in August. I see a positive outcome for the PGA Tour and the sport as a whole."

As of yet, however, there has still been no announcement as to whether or indeed when any formal agreement between PIF, the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour will be signed.

The PGA Tour had previously secured a $3bn investment as part of a partnership deal with the Strategic Sports Group though, with the agreement announced in February.

That deal being concluded still allows for co-investment from PIF as well. However, the PGA Tour's executive has been hit by departures in the past 12 months.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Rory McIlroy said Jimmy Dunne's resignation from the PGA Tour policy board was a 'huge loss' as talks continued to unify men's golf

Randall Stephenson, of AT&T, resigned from the board abruptly last summer over the proposed deal with PIF and in the last month alone, Dunne and board member Mark Flaherty resigned.

McIlroy, so long one of the most public defenders of the PGA Tour against LIV, announced he was resigning as one of the six players on the policy board last November. The Northern Irishman had a change of heart this year, but recently failed in a bid to re-join the board to help speed negotiations along.

What happens next?

That remains the billion-dollar question. The PGA Tour is still negotiating for PIF to become an investor, but it took until March for the players on the Tour Enterprises board to meet with Al Rumayyan.

Jordan Spieth, who replaced McIlroy on the policy board, insisted two weeks ago that any suggestions that negotiations are "in a bad place and are moving slowly" are not true.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Rory McIlroy explained why he will not be rejoining the PGA Tour Policy Board, admitting it was 'complicated' and 'messy'

"I think ultimately we'll end up in a place where professional golf is maybe the best that it's ever been," Spieth said ahead of the Charles Schwab Challenge. "I think both sides believe that."

One of the major issues to be resolved is around how LIV players will be integrated back into the PGA and DP World Tour structure, along with what the future of the team-based series will be if men's golf is reunited.

Those on the LIV side, who have been joined by two-time major champion Jon Rahm and Ryder Cup star Tyrrell Hatton this year, are adamant that whatever is agreed, their series is going to be around for a long time to come.

"I think we all believe that the product we're playing in right now is strong and we don't think it's going to go away anytime soon," former US Open champion Graeme McDowell said ahead last month's tournament in Singapore. "I think there's a lot of positives for the fan with the team element.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Butch Harmon believed Jon Rahm's departure might increase the urgency of the PGA Tour to form their Framework Agreement with LIV Golf

"There's just so many good things that we're doing out here. I really feel like the trajectory is moving us in the right direction, and I don't think this product is going anywhere anytime soon regardless of any mergers.

"We're very, very happy with what we're doing and with the product that we're playing in."

Watch the Scandinavian Mixed and Memorial Tournament live on Sky Sports this week; Stream top golf on Sky Sports with NOW

Golf Now logo.

Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Ireland

Around Sky