PGA TOUR, DP World Tour and PIF announce newly formed commercial entity to unify golf

PGA TOUR, DP World Tour and PIF announce newly formed commercial entity to unify golf

The PGA TOUR, DP World Tour and the Public Investment Fund (PIF) today announced a landmark agreement to unify the game of golf, on a global basis. The parties have signed an agreement that combines PIF’s golf-related commercial businesses and rights (including LIV Golf) with the commercial businesses and rights of the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour into a new, collectively owned, for-profit entity to ensure that all stakeholders benefit from a model that delivers maximum excitement and competition among the game’s best players.

In addition, PIF will make a capital investment into the new entity to facilitate its growth and success. The new entity (name TBD) will implement a plan to grow these combined commercial businesses, drive greater fan engagement and accelerate growth initiatives already underway. With LIV Golf in the midst of its second, groundbreaking season, the PGA TOUR, DP World Tour and PIF will work together to best feature and grow team golf going forward.

Notably, today’s announcement will be followed by a mutually agreed end to all pending litigation between the participating parties. Further, the three organizations will work cooperatively and in good faith to establish a fair and objective process for any players who desire to re-apply for membership with the PGA TOUR or the DP World Tour following the completion of the 2023 season and for determining fair criteria and terms of re-admission, consistent with each Tour’s policies.

“After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “This transformational partnership recognizes the immeasurable strength of the PGA TOUR’s history, legacy and pro-competitive model and combines with it the DP World Tour and LIV – including the team golf concept – to create an organization that will benefit golf’s players, commercial and charitable partners and fans. Going forward, fans can be confident that we will, collectively, deliver on the promise we’ve always made – to promote competition of the best in professional golf and that we are committed to securing and driving the game’s future.

“We are pleased to move forward, in step with LIV and PIF’s world-class investing experience, and I applaud PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan for his vision and collaborative and forward-thinking approach that is not just a solution to the rift in our game, but also a commitment to taking it to new heights. This will engender a new era in global golf, for the better.”

“Today is a very exciting day for this special game and the people it touches around the world,” said PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan. “We are proud to partner with the PGA TOUR to leverage PIF’s unparalleled success and track record of unlocking value and bringing innovation and global best practices to business and sectors worldwide. We are committed to unifying, promoting and growing the game of golf around the world and offering the highest-quality product to the many millions of long-time fans globally, while cultivating new fans.

“There is no question that the LIV model has been positively transformative for golf. We believe there are opportunities for the game to evolve while also maintaining its storied history and tradition. This partnership represents the best opportunity to extend and increase the impact of golf for all. We look forward to collaborating with Jay and Keith to bring the best version of the game to communities around the world.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the Board of Directors of the new entity will oversee and direct all the new entity’s golf-related commercial operations, businesses and investments. The new entity will work to ensure a cohesive schedule of events that will be exciting for fans, sponsors and all stakeholders. PIF will initially be the exclusive investor in the new entity, alongside the PGA TOUR, LIV Golf and the DP World Tour. Going forward, PIF will have the exclusive right to further invest in the new entity, including a right of first refusal on any capital that may be invested in the new entity, including into the PGA TOUR, LIV Golf and DP World Tour. The PGA TOUR will appoint a majority of the Board and hold a majority voting interest in the combined entity.

Separately, PGA TOUR Inc. will remain in place as a 501(c)(6) tax exempt organization and retains administrative oversight of events for those assets contributed by the PGA TOUR, including the sanctioning of events, the administration of the competition and rules, as well as all other “inside the ropes” responsibilities, with Jay Monahan as Commissioner and Ed Herlihy as PGA TOUR Policy Board Chairman. PIF’s Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan will join the PGA TOUR Policy Board. The DP World Tour and LIV Golf will retain similar administrative oversight of events on their respective Tours.

The Board of Directors of the new commercial entity will include Al-Rumayyan as Chairman and Monahan as Chief Executive Officer; the new entity’s Board will also include an Executive Committee comprising Al-Rumayyan, Monahan, Herlihy and PGA TOUR Policy Board member Jimmy Dunne. The full Board will be announced at a later date, and it is anticipated that all three founding members will have representation.

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the DP World Tour, said “This is a momentous day. We are delighted to be able to not only reignite our relationship with PIF, but also to have the opportunity to build on our current Strategic Alliance partnership with the PGA TOUR. Together we will be stronger than ever and well positioned to continue to bring the game to all corners of the globe. To partner in this new entity and influence the growth of the game for all our DP World Tour members is energizing and exciting.”

All parties will work in the months to come to finalize terms of the agreement, with details to be announced in due course.

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June 06, 2023 - By PGA TOUR

 Viktor Hovland wins the Memorial Tournament

Viktor Hovland wins the Memorial Tournament

Viktor Hovland had a flaw.

His coach, Joseph Mayo, who teaches at The Summit Club for Discovery Land Company in Las Vegas, saw it as soon as they joined forces for the first time at the start of this year.

“I’m watching this kid hit his ball into places where Harry Houdini couldn’t get it up and down,” Mayo said by phone after Hovland beat Denny McCarthy with a par on the first hole of a playoff to capture the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday. “I said, ‘Your strategy is too hyper.’

“But I couldn’t quantify it at the time,” Mayo added. “I wish I had, because he might be sitting on three wins this year. We needed Dodo (DP World Tour player and statistician Edoardo Molinari) for that.”

In a word, Hovland was undisciplined. Impetuous. Reckless.

To watch him Sunday, when he came back from a four-shot deficit on the back nine, the most indelible stroke being his birdie on 17 – the only one of the day on that hole – you would never know it. Nor would you know it from the fact that he never made worse than a bogey all week on a major championship-hard, baked-out Muirfield Village.

You wouldn’t know it as he made clutch par putts on 18, first from 5 1/2 feet in regulation to get to 7 under and pressure leader McCarthy, then from just under 7 feet in the playoff to win it.

But Hovland had that flaw, and not that long ago, either. After winning the Memorial, sitting next to tournament host Jack Nicklaus, he laughed as he described Mayo being in “agonizing pain” while watching him play.

“He suggested basically, ‘Hey, I think our course management or our strategy is not very good,’” Hovland said. “And that's when he reached out to Edoardo Molinari, who does my stats, and basically they just crunched some numbers and basically saw the stats kind of tell the same story.

“So yeah, just a little bit different strategy,” he continued, “and particularly wedges to – or pitching wedge to 8-irons is where I'm way more conservative, especially at a golf course like

this when the greens become very firm and fast and you put the pins on the edges; you just can't afford to go for 'em.”

What Molinari found when he ran the numbers was alarming but also hugely helpful.

“Dodo said a great iron player is short-siding himself 15% of the time,” Mayo said. “Viktor was twice that. You can’t outrun that. I showed him the data, and he said, ‘Wow.’”

Finally, Mayo could quantify what he was seeing, and Hovland, 25, could see it plain as day. He was beating himself. So began the rapid maturation of this uber-talent out of Norway, who on Sunday won for the first time on the U.S. mainland. It was his fourth PGA TOUR title and moved him to fourth in the FedExCup.

“I told him, ‘It’s not a birdie contest,’” Mayo said. “‘This is a double-bogey-avoidance contest. At Oklahoma State, you could out-hit those guys, but you’re not going to outhit Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler. You have to outthink them, start playing chess.’ It was also about how he reacts.

“A bogey hurts one shot,” Mayo continued. “But how you react to it can cost you multiple shots.”

To be sure, Hovland 2.0 didn’t happen overnight. He shot a final-round 75 to finish T10 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard in March.

“He gave that tournament away,” Mayo said.

But it soon became clear that Hovland was inching toward something. He finished T3 at THE PLAYERS Championship, T7 at the Masters Tournament, T2 at the PGA Championship.

It wasn’t just that he was rethinking his strategy. Renowned for his ball-striking and especially his driving, Hovland also was taking an unsparing look at his short game under Mayo. This, too, was paying dividends. Asked if the old version of himself could have won the Memorial, Hovland said no.

“I didn't have the short game that I have now,” he said. “So, when you do end up on the downslope and you need to be able to spin the ball or slow the ball down, I just couldn't do that.”

This resulted in what he called “a double whammy” – aiming at pins he couldn’t resist (short-siding himself twice as much as the best players) and then being unable to save himself.

“But this week,” he said, “I told myself that when I'm out of position, just play for the fatter part of the green and if I miss the green, I still have a shot where I can roll the ball up or slow the ball

down enough to get it close to the pin. I knew this was kind of going to be a competition of not making any double bogeys or making too many mistakes.”

His caddie, Shay Knight, has seen a big transformation.

“He’s been playing really well for a long time,” Knight said. “What he did at the PGA, finally playing well on a Sunday, gave him a lot of confidence moving forward. It showed today.”

So, too, did his new maturity.

“We were out of position a lot,” Knight said. “There were times in the past where he would have tried to go for it. But he stayed really patient today and did what he did. It was awesome.”

Added Hovland, whose next start will come in similarly tough conditions at the U.S. Open, “You’ve just got to stay within yourself and keep fighting, and sometimes it works out like it did today.”

Especially when you leave the Harry Houdini act at home.

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June 05, 2023 - By PGA TOUR

Rose Zhang wins the Mizuho Americas Open

Rose Zhang wins the Mizuho Americas Open

For the first time since Beverly Hanson in 1951, Rose Zhang has emerged victorious in her professional debut on the LPGA Tour, winning the Mizuho Americas Open in a playoff over Jennifer Kupcho. The 20-year-old fought to a 2-over 74, making one bogey and 17 pars on Sunday to capture her first LPGA Tour title and hold off charges from Eun-Hee Ji, Aditi Ashok and Kupcho.

Starting the day with a two-shot lead at 11-under, Zhang opened with three pars in her first three holes to stay one ahead of Ashok, who moved to 10-under with a birdie on the par-3, 2nd hole. Ashok bogeyed No. 4 to once again sit two shots back of the lead, but Zhang also dropped a shot on the same hole, now one ahead with 14 holes to play. An Ashok birdie on the 6th hole moved her back to 10-under and into a share of the lead with Zhang; however, major champions Eun-Hee Ji and Kupcho were also making moves, with Ji carding three consecutive birdies on holes 4, 5 and 6 and Kupcho holing out on 7 to both get to 10-under and make it a four-way tie at the top. All three would ultimately fall away with Ji bogeying the 8th hole and Ashok and Kupcho bogeying the ninth to drop to 9-under, giving Zhang a one-shot lead with nine holes to play.

Kupcho grabbed a birdie on the par-5, 10th to again move into a tie for the lead at 10-under, but a bogey on the par-4, 12th hole erased that effort and Kupcho parred in for a final-round, 3-under 69 to post the clubhouse lead at 9-under. Ashok took herself out of the conversation with three bogeys on the back, clearing the way for Zhang to slam the door shut on her first victory as a professional, but she would have to work for it on the closing holes of Liberty National Golf Club. Her best opportunity to extend the lead came at the short, par-4 16th hole, where she pitched her second shot close and missed the birdie putt, remaining at 10-under with two to play.

Zhang parred 17 and her drive on 18 barely found the fairway bunker, making for a tricky second shot under immense pressure. She left her approach short of the green and her chip checked up a little too early, finishing 8 feet short of the hole, leaving Zhang a testy par putt for the win. Zhang’s par try slid off to the right and she tapped in for bogey, sending the 20-year-old into a playoff with three-time LPGA Tour winner Kupcho.

Hitting first, Kupcho’s drive found the fescue on the right of the 18th fairway and Zhang followed the lead, hitting her tee shot in the right fairway bunker. Both players hacked their second shots out short of the green and Zhang pitched her third shot up to approximately 12 feet, a few feet further from the hole than her third in regulation. Kupcho took note of the check on Zhang’s ball and knocked hers to six feet, and both buried their par putts to send things back to the 18th tee.

Kupcho and Zhang learned from their earlier mistakes, each finding the fairway with their drives, but Zhang stuck her approach shot close, hitting it to roughly six feet for birdie and the win. When Kupcho left her approach on the front of the green, rammed her putt well past the flag and missed the comebacker for par, it was Zhang’s to win, and she took advantage, two-putting her way to her first career LPGA Tour victory and first win as a professional.

“What is happening? I just can't believe it,” Zhang said on the green after the win. “It was just last week when I won NCAAs with my teammates, and to turn pro and come out here, it's just been amazing. I've enjoyed the journey. (Jason Gilroyed) was on my bag the whole time. I had so many cheers around me. All my friends and family. Just so thankful.”

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June 05, 2023 - By LPGA

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