PGA and DP World Tours strengthen partnership in response to LIV Golf ‘threat’

New 13-year operational joint venture partnership will create new player pathways and increased prize funds

The PGA Tour and DP World Tour have announced a new 13-year operational joint venture partnership Getty Images
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The PGA Tour and DP World Tour have announced a new 13-year operational joint venture partnership which creates new player pathways and increased prize funds in the next phase of their fightback against LIV Golf.

In an announcement coinciding with the opening press conferences at LIV’s first United States event in Portland this week, the two circuits announced a strengthening of their alliance which was first launched in November 2020.

The aim is to counter LIV’s cash with a better competitive structure for players and from next year, the top 10 finishers on the season-ending DP World Tour rankings who are not already exempt will gain PGA Tour cards.

The PGA Tour will increase its ownership stake in European Tour Productions from 15 per cent to 40 per cent, with the cash from the deal used to increase prize funds – with guaranteed increases in DP World Tour purses for the next five years.

Both the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour have been desperate to stem the tide of players who have been lured by the riches offered by the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV series – which will this week see the likes of Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka make their debut, undeterred by indefinite PGA bans.

Announcing the deal, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said: “The game of golf is rallying – our members, partners, fans. Today’s announcement can serve as further evidence that the ecosystem of professional golf continues to innovate and thrive.

“We’re 100 per cent focused on creating the strongest competitive platform for the best players in the world.

“If the PGA Tour is going to compete on dollars alone against a foreign monarchy that is trying to buy the game, that’s a very difficult spot for us to be in.

“However, we’re going to compete by creating the best schedule, with players having the ability to pick and choose their schedule, that’s where our focus is going to be. This partnership is an example.”

Keith Pelley, chief executive of the DP World Tour, said the extension of the partnership first launched 19 months ago was always on the cards but admitted the threat posed by LIV had changed the dynamics.

“It’s pretty obvious to say the current situation in golf has significantly accelerated that process,” said Pelley, who has seen European Tour stars like Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter join LIV. “I’m not going to sit here and pretend that is not the case.

“The existential threat in LIV escalated what we had already planned. But I couldn’t be more excited about it.”

Pelley also denied rumours he had attended the first LIV event at Centurion and said he had had no conversations with Golf Saudi since the summer of 2021, saying the decision to launch a rival series had left him “perplexed”.

“Unfortunately Golf Saudi has elected to play outside the ecosystem,” he said. “They play inside the ecosystem in Formula One, they play inside the ecosystem in Premier League football and they do in women’s golf – and I’m a board member of the LET [Ladies’ European Tour].

“I’ve been consistent that if in fact they are interested to play inside the ecosystem and not launch a rival tour that I think is detrimental to the game at large then I personally, from DP World’s perspective, would be open – and they know that – to having a conversation.

“But I’m not interested and that’s why there has been no conversation since the summer of 2021, because they are convinced and they seem compelled to play outside the ecosystem as opposed to inside.”

Updated: June 29, 2022, 4:20 AM