Another rival golf league is gearing up and gaining momentum with PGA Tour players
While the PGA Tour has spent considerable time in recent weeks fending off a potential rival league led by Hall of Famer Greg Norman, the Premier Golf League – which originally featured an alternative format and huge money offers dating back eight years – has quietly worked. backstage to gather support.
And he gained ground.
The reason? The 54-hole events with an individual and team component of 48 players and guaranteed money each week would be under the umbrella of PGA Tour Inc., the non-profit organization that operates the PGA Tour, as well as several others, including the Korn Ferry Visit.
In a letter sent to the PGA Tour Policy Board in February and since shared with many players, and obtained by SI.com/Morning Read, the Premier Golf League (PGL), which operates under the London-based World Golf Group banner, outlines a plan that would generate significant net worth for all voting members of the PGA Tour, as well as those of the DP World Tour and the Korn Ferry Tour.
“This reaffirms our commitment to equitably share the value generated by the Premier Golf League and to work with the PGA Tour Inc. in a manner that is both consistent with its core mission and in the best interests of its members,”‘ wrote Roger Maddock, Chairman of World Golf Group Ltd.
As stated in the letter, as a new joint venture, Premier Golf League Inc. would issue shares equal to 50% to PGA Tour players, 7.5% to Korn Ferry players, 2.5% to DP World Tour players , 5% to Tour business partners, 2.5% to PGL directors (which could include PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan), 7.5% to a charitable foundation (to benefit amateur play) and 25% to World Golf Group.
World Golf Group says it believes the PGL will generate $10 billion in net worth by 2030, which would equate to $20 million per voting PGA Tour member and $3 million per Korn Ferry member.
In addition, the proposal includes a future net worth cash advance of $460 million. Simply put, each of the 200 voting members of the PGA Tour would receive $2 million when the PGL kicks off, with Korn Ferry’s 200 members each receiving $300,000.
Premier Golf League CEO Andy Gardiner, who was recently at The Players Championship, declined to comment. But in a November interview in which he revealed the PGL was trying to work with – not against – the PGA Tour, he explained how the concept would improve all players, not just those who play as part of the PGL.
“It’s not destructive,” Gardiner said. “It’s just a division created under them. We call this co-sanction. And the PGA Tour has shown there is value in alternative fields.
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In December, Rory McIlroy, who recently became a member of the PGA Tour Policy Board after serving on the Player Advisory Council, said in an interview with the “No Laying Up” podcast that he felt it was his duty to present the PGL plan. to members.
“In my role as PAC chair and now on the board, I have to think about those guys down there, right?” McIlroy said. “So go to PGL and you have Andy Gardiner here (on a previous podcast), saying, well, I think I can create $5 billion in diaper equity and split it among the 210 (members), so I’m kind of adding that up in my mind and it’s like 20 million dollars each. I’m like, again, I’m not doing a good job for the players if I don’t bring this to the attention of the Tour and I’m like… sit down and listen to this guy, do something.
“Yes, OK, I understand the business model that the PGA Tour is currently under,” Andy said “paralyzed,” in terms of…that’s kind of what they can do and they’re doing the best they can with what they can, and I agree that they’re doing a tremendous job within the structure that they’re in because that’s what was created before Jay (Monahan) took over. You know But if someone comes along and says I think I can create that amount of revenue and distribute it to all the players, you have to listen to that, right? that once again, it is my responsibility to all the players who elected me to this position.
And yet, it would be quite different from the way the PGA Tour operates today.
From the start, the PGL – elements of which appear to have been adopted by LIV Golf Investments – had proposed a league that would have 18 events, with the majority in North America.
Under the proposal that would see the PGL as part of the PGA Tour, these tournaments would replace existing events on the PGA Tour and could be played at current venues and operated by Tour staff and partners.
They could even be renamed co-PGA/PGL events. The prize money would be $20 million, with $4 million going to the winner and $150,000 for last place. There would also be a team aspect – the winning team would split $1 million each week. And there would be a season-ending tag team championship for a $20 million prize fund for the winner.
Funding would come from a variety of sources. Gardiner said last year he had the funds to cover PGL’s entire working capital requirement “multiple times over.” There is no Saudi money involved or any other sovereign funds. Included are several US institutional private equity and high net worth US individuals.
But what about the players outside of the PGL, which is said to have 48 players made up of 12 four-average teams with the potential for a 13th team each week chosen by the fans?
Those not participating in PGL events would participate in regular PGA Tour events on other weeks, a schedule which, based on the current schedule, would mean approximately 30 events, with the FedEx Cup structure in place. Those who participate in the 18 PGL events would not be banned from participating in tournaments on other weeks.
Norman and his as-yet-unnamed league, which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, have been in the news for the past few months. Norman was named CEO of LIV Golf Investments, which has pledged $300 million to the Asian Tour over the next 10 years, with plans for an alternative league similar in structure to that proposed by the PGL.
But Norman’s league would be separated, and there has already been considerable consternation as players such as Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson are said to be in line to join the league. Most PGA Tour players have backed down following critical Tour comments from Mickelson, who is currently taking time off and has not competed since the Saudi international tournament in early February. It is unclear if he will even play in the Masters.
What remains to be seen is whether McIlroy, the PGA Tour Policy Board and Monahan will schedule a meeting with the World Golf Group to discuss PGL’s proposals.