Tiger Woods of the United States and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walk to the 11th fairway during a practice round before the 2023 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 3, 2023 in Augusta, Georgia.

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According to an internal memo obtained by CNBC, the PGA Tour announced Tuesday that it would begin offering professional players a direct equity stake in the new company, which will be formed after reaching an agreement with investors.

The tour is currently in negotiations for an investment agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, of which LIV Golf is a part, and the DP World Tour. Discussions with PIF and the DP World Tour remain the tour’s “top priority,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in Tuesday’s memo.

The sides reached a framework agreement earlier this year to combine the business interests of the golf leagues. The development sparked anger and criticism, including from players like Rory McIlroy. The Senate held hearings to examine claims that the deal was intended to increase Saudi Arabia’s influence in the United States through sports investments.

The new program outlined in Tuesday’s memo is the latest step toward aligning the interests of PGA Tour players with the business itself.

“If we secure outside investment, this would be a unique offering in professional sports as no other league provides its players/members with a direct equity stake in league operations,” he wrote. “We recognize – as do all potential minority investors who engage with us – that the PGA TOUR will be stronger when our players are more aligned with the company’s commercial success.”

Monahan also wrote that the tour’s agreement with PIF and DP World Tour attracted interest from other investors. The board is currently reviewing offers from private investors and will continue to negotiate the selection of finalists, he added.

Last week, Fenway Sports Group Chairman Tom Werner acknowledged that the company had been in discussions with the PGA Tour but declined to comment on further details. There has been speculation that Fenway could make an offer that exceeds the Saudi offer.

Source : www.cnbc.com

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