The PGA Tour announced on Wednesday that it had reached a deal to raise at least $1.5 billion from a group of U.S. investors, a move that raises new questions about whether a proposed alliance with a rival tour backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund will come to fruition.
The influx of money into the PGA Tour, which could end up being as much as $3 billion, is led by the Fenway Sports Group, the parent company of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club. The tour is simultaneously negotiating a partnership with its well-funded competitor, LIV Golf.
That deal, which was announced in June, was effectively an acknowledgment by the PGA Tour that it did not have enough money to compete with the hundreds of millions of dollars the Saudi fund was prepared to put in the sport. A number of prominent players had already left the PGA Tour for the LIV tour.
The PGA Tour and the Saudi fund initially set a Dec. 31 deadline to work out details and conclude their alliance. That deadline has since been extended, and the partnership between the two tours has not yet been completed. The question now is whether the deal with U.S. investors changes the PGA Tour’s calculus.
The tour’s commissioner, Jay Monahan, said Wednesday on a call with PGA Tour players before the official announcement that the tour “does remain in active and frequent dialogue” with representatives for the Saudi wealth fund. He added that the U.S. investors were “aware and supportive” of its negotiations with the fund, and that he was in Saudi Arabia a few weeks ago to conduct due diligence on the proposed alliance with executives supporting the U.S. investor group.
The Saudi fund has made clear that it will continue to compete with the PGA Tour through LIV Golf if there is no alliance. In December, the Saudi-backed tour poached Jon Rahm, the world’s third-ranked player.