12 Jul 2023

Keith Pelley provides update on DP World Tour, PIF & PGA Tour agreement

Exactly one year ago, I used this column to reflect on the evolution of global golf following the announcement of our enhanced strategic alliance with the PGA TOUR.

Much has happened in the intervening 12 months, but the certainty that agreement provided to the DP World Tour members over that period cannot be underestimated.

Few people, if anyone, could have predicted exactly what has transpired over the past year, however one thing I did suggest in last July’s column was that the alliance would lead to ‘even greater strategic opportunities…providing a more global vision for golf with increased resources.’

We have already made some significant strides in that sense and now, with the subsequent announcement of our framework agreement with the PGA TOUR and PIF, we have a real opportunity to truly deliver on that pledge.

There is, of course, a substantial amount of work still ahead of us, as we pursue the pathway to a definitive agreement. All three entities fully understand the complexities of the process, but crucially we are all committed to it.

We are aligned with the general principle of what is trying to be achieved. It is the precise detail of it that now needs more work.

The objective when we initiated these discussions was to remove the divisiveness that has been so detrimental to our game over the last two years. We have taken the first step in that respect, with the cessation of the PGA TOUR v LIV Golf litigation in particular, but the coming months will be critical as we work together to explore the best way to shape the future of the men’s professional game for the overall betterment of our sport.

The suddenness of the announcement on June 6 meant it took some time for people to fully digest and comprehend the scope and the intention of the framework agreement, which I characterise as a commitment to work together. I fully understand why that was the case and collectively we have spent the days since the announcement speaking with members of our respective tours, as well as other stakeholders, to impart as much information as we can at this stage and listen to their views, as they will be imperative in helping to inform any subsequent agreement.

We held a player meeting at the Betfred British Masters recently – precisely three weeks after the announcement – which was probably one of the best attended I have seen. The feedback we had from the players was terrific. Naturally, there were plenty of questions, but they appreciated the clarity we were able to provide, as well as the role the DP World Tour is playing in this process as the only entity to have a relationship with everyone else involved.

We had a three-year association with the PIF-backed Golf Saudi, which led to three consecutive editions of the Saudi International on our schedule from 2019, and we obviously have an existing alliance with the PGA TOUR. So we were advocates of working together in a way that truly benefits our sport and makes golf less fractured.

While we have made an important move in that direction, there remains a great deal yet to do.  The desire is there though, and hopefully when I sit down to write this column again in 12 months’ time, I will be able to reflect once more on the substantial progress made in the evolution of our sport.

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