By: Nick Piastowski January 10, 2024Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The chief executive of the DP World Tour is resigning, as the formerly named European Tour, the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund continue to negotiate a deal that could transform the landscape of professional golf.
As first reported by TSN on Wednesday, Keith Pelley will depart as CEO of DP World Tour, and will soon be led by the 60-year-old Canadian Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which owns multiple Toronto-based sports teams . Which includes the NHL’s Maple Leafs and the NBA’s Raptors. As of Wednesday evening, DP World Tour has yet to confirm or deny the report.
The news also comes on the same day that the R&A announced that its boss, Martin Slumbers, will step down at the end of the year. Both moves may be considered surprising in light of the framework agreement announced early last June between the DP World Tour, the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s PIF.
As part of that deal, PIF will invest in a new, for-profit entity operated by the PGA Tour, and “the existing and future commercial investments and assets of PIF, the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour related to the game of golf” will be combined under one umbrella. Will be united below.” But the announcement of that deal came as a considerable shock – in particular, PIF has funded LIV Golf, and for the past two seasons, LIV and the established tour have been battling over players and reputation – and since then it has The deal has gone beyond the parties. The New Year’s Eve deadline itself was set to finalize the terms.
On December 31, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan issued a letter to his players, stating that both sides had agreed to move the target deadline to a later date, which has still not been determined. Shortly before that note, negotiations between the parties had become increasingly complex. On the Tour’s behalf, it had agreed to “advance” equity negotiations with the “Strategic Sports Group” or SSG, a group of wealthy investors that includes current and former owners of at least a dozen professional sports franchises. Are. Part of Monahan’s letter to the Tour membership on December 31 focused on the SSG investment, which the commissioner said had made “meaningful progress” and was moving toward “finalization.” The SSG investment could invest billions of dollars in the Tour, but negotiations could be risky for the Saudis, who may view the SSG investment as the Tour attempting to gain leverage against them. Of course, leverage was LIV’s primary motivation for acquiring reigning Masters champion and current world No. 3 Jon Rahm from the PGA Tour early last month in a deal reportedly worth several hundred million dollars. In addition to robbing the Tour of one of its most important players, Rahm’s move had the effect of publicly reaffirming the Saudi commitment to LIV and pro golf. The move was a boon for LIV, yes, but it was also a veiled threat to a tour establishment that has openly admitted it cannot compete with the Saudis economically.
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And now Pelé, with Slumbers, is moving on. why now? Does this mean a deal is close? Specifically, the TSN report was published around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday — which was 2:30 a.m. in Dubai, where the DP World Tour is playing its first Dubai Invitational of the year.
Pelé had served as the CEO of DP World Tour since 2015. During his tenure he strengthened an alliance between the formerly named European Tour and the PGA Tour that included co-sanctioning the DP World Tour’s Scottish Open and the PGA Tour’s Barbasol. Championship and Barracuda Championship, and awarding PGA Tour cards to the top 10 finishers in the DP World Tour’s season-long points race.
That last move led some to think that the DP World Tour was declining. As for his recent thoughts on the proposed deal, Pele told reporters this golf digest John Haggan – at the DP World Tour Championships at the end of last year’s season:
“I can’t give you much comment. I think there has been a tremendous amount of speculation, too many rumors. But the negotiations we are having will be in the best interests of global golf and the DP World Tour. I will not comment on specific formats or seasons as all those conversations are confidential. But, as I’ve said internally, things have heated up since the Ryder Cup. The discussions have intensified. Other than that, I can’t comment or speculate on anything.
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Nick Piastowski is a senior editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf sector. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and trying to wash up his scores. Is drinking cold beer. You can contact him about any of these topics – his stories, his game or his beers – at [email protected].