Back in February the Premier Golf League laid out its plan for a series of events that would partner with various tours, feature massive paydays and give ownership stakes to members of the league.
The PGL, a different entity from the Saudi Arabia-backed and Greg Norman-led LIV Golf Invitational Series that plans to rival the Tour, is doubling down on its efforts to meet with the PGA Tour and recruit its players.
The letter, obtained by Golfweek and dated for Thursday, May 5, and addressed to PGA Tour Voting Members says professional golf is at a “historic crossroads.”
“The ‘International Series,’ funded and owned by LIV Golf Investments (LIV), represents an existential threat, not only to the PGA Tour’s dominance, but also its model. Change is not only inevitable, it is happening – and no amount of purse rejigging, head-burying, ban-threatening, alliance-making or ‘moving-on’ will derail it,” read the letter signed by World Golf Group Limited, which not-so-subtly calls out the PGA Tour and Jay Monahan for his comments that the Tour was “moving on” from rival leagues, as well as the threatening to ban players who play for different leagues.
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“LIV’s superb format (based on our very own, original, PGL format) is capable of generating $10 billion-plus of equity value,” the letter continued. “Hence, LIV is prepared to spend $400 million-plus to demonstrate the brilliance of the model, across eight events.”
The letter goes on to lay out two options for PGA Tour players:
A) Own 50% of the PGL and make ~$20 million each ($2 million upfront), with a further ~$1 billion of value to be shared between members of the Korn Ferry and DP World Tours, or B) Do nothing and leave LIV to generate that value, while the two oldest tours contemplate a full merger that would serve neither membership
According to the Fire Pit Collective, McIlroy presented the proposal to the board and the plan was discussed among PAC members at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship.
“Their proposal has been studied and scrutinized by an independent company to test its viability,” said Kevin Kisner, whose term on the PAC ended in 2022. “The results were presented to all of us. After extensively studying the (PGL’s) finances and the proposal, the (consultants) likened it to having to perform from a financial standpoint of 19 Ryder Cups per year. Not feasible.”
The letter quotes a similar statement from Rory McIlroy and questions both players’ claims, citing how the consultants, Allen & Co., have never spoken to the PGL nor do they have access to the proper information “in order to produce an accurate valuation.”
It also includes a call to action that asks players to message PAC and Policy Board representatives while also tweeting, “As a member of the tour, I instruct you to obtain and publish an independent valuation of the PGL Proposals #playerpower #transparency,” further claiming that if 70 or more players do it, “it will happen.”
The letter ends: “You should not fear the wrath of (PGA Tour commissioner) Jay Monahan, he is not on the Policy Board and works for you. You should exercise your rights. Despite it being ‘your’ PGA Tour, you do not own it (nor will you own LIV or the Super Golf League). You could own half of the PGL.”
Long story short, the ball is in the players’ hands, and they’ll soon have to decide where they wish to tee it up.