Rory McIlroy has softened his stance on the LIV Golf League in recent months
PGA Tour unveils ‘golden handcuffs’ payout to reward loyal players
The way the $930m initial investment made by Fenway Sports Group into the PGA Tour is to be divided among the players has been announced, with the top 36 players set to share a pot worth a staggering $750m (£593m).
An elite group of players will share $750m of equity in the new commercial entity created in alliance with a group of US-based sports team owners in a bid to safeguard the business from the threat of LIV Golf.
It was confirmed last week that the PGA Tour had struck a deal, worth $3bn in total, with a consortium led by the Fenway Sports Group. There is a plan for Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which finances LIV, to also invest but that remains subject to regulatory pressures.
The PGA Tour told players the funds will be distributed according to “career accomplishments, recent achievements, future participation and services”, opening the door for Tiger Woods, who hasn’t competed regularly in recent years due to injury, but is still responsible for boosting the PGA Tour’s global reach, to receive a hefty share of the investment money.
WHAT WILL THE REST RECEIVE
A second group of 64 players – those ranked 37-100 according to the PGA Tour’s list of criteria – will share $75m of equity, which will be allocated on performances over the last three years. While another 57 players – ranked 101- 157 in the list – will share $30m of equity if they have “earned certain PGA Tour fully exempt categories”.
The final portion of the fund, worth $75m, is for 36 players who were “instrumental in building the modern PGA Tour based on career performance”.
Players can only earn a pay out from one of the categories, while those have joined LIV Golf will not be eligible for any share of this fund, regardless of their historical success on the PGA Tour.
“Today marks an important moment for the PGA Tour and fans of golf across the world,” said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, who is CEO of PGA Tour Enterprises, the new for-profit body created following Fenway’s investment. “By making the PGA Tour members owners of their league, we strengthen the collective investment of our players in the success of the PGA Tour.”