R&A-Pif, negotiation to develop golf in Arabia

The R&A, the global authority on golf, with the exception of Mexico and the United States, is currently negotiating with the Public Investment Fund (PIF) to finance projects in Saudi Arabia and further promote the sport in the country

by Andrea Gussoni
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R&A-Pif, negotiation to develop golf in Arabia
© Getty Images Sport - Eakin Howard / Stringer

The R&A, the global authority on golf, with the exception of Mexico and the United States, is currently negotiating with the Public Investment Fund (PIF) to finance projects in Saudi Arabia and further promote the sport in the country.

Pif, negotiation

The Open, the world's oldest men's major, and the Women's British Open, flagship events organized by the R&A, could become key tools in increasing the PIF's presence in the world of golf. Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, which backs LIV, golf's separate circuit, is seeking a breakthrough.

In addition to attracting big players like Spaniard Jon Rahm, the goal is to expand their reach. Contacts between Martin Slumbers, CEO of the R&A, and Yasir al-Rumayyan, governor of the PIF and chairman of Saudi Aramco and Newcastle United, are increasingly frequent.

In 2019, plans for a new golf tour, the Premier Golf League, were made public. Intended to rival the PGA Tour, the league received a response from PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, which implied that players who chose to participate would not be able to compete in PGA Tour events.

In 2020, the PGA European Tour and the PGA Tour formed a "strategic alliance" to collaborate on commercial opportunities, scheduling, and prize funds for their respective memberships.

Despite talks of a financial partnership with Saudi investors, the Premier Golf League was not able to come to an agreement.

However, Golf Saudi funded a new entity, LIV Golf Investments, which launched in October 2021, with Greg Norman named as CEO.

Comparisons have been made between LIV Golf and the now-dormant breakaway European Super League in football.

In July 2022, LIV Golf applied to be included in the Official World Golf Ranking and in October 2022, entered into a "strategic alliance" with the MENA Tour. This was done in order to provide ranking points for LIV Golf events; however, changes to the MENA Tour would need to be considered before points could be awarded. The process for OWGR approval typically takes between one and two years from application submission.

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