PGA Tour will grant $930 million in participation

Last week, the PGA Tour finalized an agreement with the private company Strategic Sports Group (SSG), thus launching PGA Tour Enterprises

by Andrea Gussoni
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PGA Tour will grant $930 million in participation
© Getty Images Sport - Angel Martinez / Stringer

Last week, the PGA Tour finalized an agreement with the private company Strategic Sports Group (SSG), thus launching PGA Tour Enterprises. This division will consolidate the PGA Tour's commercial activities and rights in the future.

This move will enable the tour to maximize its revenues and those of the players while maintaining its status as a nonprofit association. This is crucial as it allows for tax exemptions. SSG has committed to providing $3 billion to PGA Tour Enterprises, with an initial investment of $1.5 billion.

Players will receive stakes in PGA Tour Enterprises. These grants, distributed over time, will be based on players' performances, future participation, and status on the tour. In a memo addressed to members on Wednesday, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan detailed the allocation of the initial $930 million in grants.

"As discussed with the PGA Tour Board, the issuance of PGA Tour Enterprises stock requires us to comply with significant legal and regulatory requirements," wrote Monahan. "It is essential that we listen to and follow the recommendations of experts on how we deploy the program.

Until we have completed this process, we will not be able to answer some questions that we know are at the heart of members' concerns, including informing those who will receive initial grants."

Pga Tour, results

Despite these constraints, the memo divides the $930 million into four groups: Group 1 consists of $750 million in overall equity and will be awarded to 36 players based on their professional performances, performances over the past five years, and results in the Player Impact Program.

Group 2 consists of $75 million in overall equity and will be awarded to 64 players based on their performances over the past three years. Group 3 consists of $30 million in overall equity and will be awarded to 57 players who have achieved certain categories on the PGA Tour.

Group 4, totaling $75 million, will be awarded to 36 players who played a key role in the creation of the modern PGA Tour and based on their professional performances. Additionally, the memo states that an additional $600 million will be distributed as recurring grants.

"Recurring equity grants for players will supplement initial grants," the memo reads. "They amount to a total of $600 million and are expected to be awarded at a rate of $100 million per year starting from the 2025 PGA Tour season and until at least 2030.

All PGA Tour members are eligible to receive recurring grants, whether or not they have received an initial grant. These recurring grants will be based on performances over the past three years, last year's performance, and results in the Player Impact Program." The potential role of the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) in the new for-profit enterprise has not been specified.

The tour announced in last week's agreement that the partnership with SSG would allow for future co-investment from the PIF. SSG concluded the deal with the tour with the expectation that the PIF's involvement would materialize soon.

However, antitrust rules must be adhered to, and Congress announced this week that its investigation into the PIF and its investments in American companies would continue. Initially, the PGA Tour sought additional investments to appease government antitrust regulations rather than finding an alternative to the PIF.

However, discussions between the PIF and the Tour stalled, and the PIF's resumption of recruiting players from the Tour sparked negative sentiments. The PIF, on the other hand, considered the tour's solicitation with other investors as a sort of betrayal of the June 6 framework agreement.

Even if an agreement between the PGA Tour and the PIF is reached, professional golf may not be unified for one or two years, according to sources from Golf Digest.

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