The PGA Tour is beginning to formulate a plan to “reward” golfers who have stuck with the league over LIV Golf.
Jimmy Dunne, a member of the PGA Tour board of directors, said Friday that golfers who chose to stay with the Tour rather than LIV Golf will receive equity. How this works specifically has yet to be determined.
The move comes just days after Tour commissioner Jay Monahan between the Tour, the DP World Tour and LIV Golf.
“New [company] would grow, and the [current PGA Tour] players would get a share of equity that would grow and increase in value over time,” Dunne said, “There should be some sort of formulaic decision on how to proceed. It would be a process to determine what would be a fair mechanism that would really benefit our players.”
One of the biggest problems with the merger, is the fact that golfers who have stuck with the Tour during the Saudi-backed venture have been turned down huge paydays for doing so.
Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, among others, reportedly received contracts worth over $100 million just for joining LIV. Others, like Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm, reportedly turned down similar offers. Even Tiger Woods, it seems.
“For me, it didn’t really make a difference. I was always going to be on the PGA Tour,” Matthew Fitzpatrick said Thursday of the RBC Canadian Open. “Obviously for the guys who have turned down large sums, it’s probably hard to swallow and I feel for them.”
It’s not yet clear how Dunne’s equity system will work, or what each golfer’s stake will be in the new company. However, returning LIV Golf members will not be eligible to receive this equity.
Dunne: LIV golfers will have to seek reinstatement through committee
Monahan is set to serve as CEO of the new golf league, which will be funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and will include the Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf – although it’s unclear if LIV Golf will continue after the end of this season.
It remains to be seen how LIV golfers will be welcomed back to the Tour.
“There still have to be consequences to actions,” said Rory McIlroy, . “People who left the PGA Tour have irreparably harmed this Tour, taken legal action against it. We can’t just welcome them back. Like, that’s not going to happen. And I think that was the only thing that Jay was trying to get through yesterday, it’s like, guys, we’re not just gonna bring these guys back and pretend like nothing happened. It’s not gonna happen.”
Assuming LIV Golf does not enter a third season, Dunne said a committee would determine penalties for players who wish to return. According to ESPN, this would be decided on a “case by case” basis.
“I think we would form a panel, including tour players, who would assess what the conditions would be,” Dunne said. “Remember they’re coming back to be on the tour, so they have to be confident that they’d be good enough to keep playing, and they have to be prepared to incur the penalty for leaving… Players on the LIV [tour] who wanted to re-enter the PGA Tour would go through a process [and] suspension. Whatever the penalty, they should decide whether they want to do it or not and then they could play.”