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What does progress look like between LIV, PGA Tour?

The First Call readers offer suggestions as to what would make a deal between the rival factions 'right'

Question of the week [June 10-16]: On June 7, the PGA Tour announced that "progress was made" in a meeting with representatives of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, and that the Tour wants "to get this right." In your opinion, what would be "right" for the PGA Tour in its negotiations? 

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"Right" for the PGA Tour would be to tell the Saudis to take their money and put it where the sun doesn't shine. 

Bob Norris
Cincinnati, Ohio

So everyone is in an uproar over players taking Saudi money. I noticed the NBA has no problem and no one even raised an eye over it.

Mickey Morrison             
Frisco, Texas

What I would want in this pact would be as follows:
1) return all LIV players to the PGA with no penalties;
2) have Monahan step down;
3) have the current PGA players publicly thank Phil Michelson for singlehandedly getting their purses increased;
4) put the LIV players back to their previous world rankings as they were before joining LIV.

Vinny Mooney
Poughkeepsie, New York

What everybody seems to forget — on purpose — is that Saudi Arabia is using the PGA Tour to whitewash its awful human rights record. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan tried a grandstand play by secretly negotiating" with LIV without the knowledge of the PGA Tour card-carrying members of the Tour. Not to mention that he betrayed and embarrassed Rory McIlroy, who was the face and conscience of the PGA Tour until he buckled for some reason and decided to play nice with the devil.

Monahan's future as commissioner should be voted on by the top 125 players on the Tour. With a huge influx of American money by wealthy groups, the Tour is now equipped to fight and / or ignore LIV. 

Saudi Arabia / LIV has no place in golf.

Ray Edger
Surrey, British Columbia

I'd be interested to know the PGA Tour's definition of "get this right."

Craig Libhart
Bainbridge, Pennsylvania

I think it would be best for the PGA Tour to reach an agreement with LIV for there to be a limited number of LIV players to play in a limited number of PGA events. And vice/versa. There would be a qualifying process limited to 10-15 spots. If you think about it, there are really only 10-15 LIV players most of the fans would care to see anyway. 

The events would most likely be Signature events with expanded fields from the current field numbers as to not take anymore spots from current PGA Tour players. Remember, it’s a vice/versa agreement. 

I think some type of format like my above opinion is best for the PGA Tour business in terms of raising more money in TV ratings, purses, etc. But I think we’re more likely to see some type of World Tour with six to eight tournaments with players from both tours. 

Personally, I would just as soon all players play their own tours, let the majors continue to decide on their field qualifying process, and as the LIV players contracts expire, let them go through a qualifying process if they want to play the PGA Tour. Whatever is announced I can’t imagine any new business model happening before 2026. 

Barry Duckworth
Knoxville, Tennessee

Here are my thoughts on what the PGA Tour and LIV Golf should do to bring this negotiation to an end — and bring golf back to the forefront of the game:

1. Bring Mr. Jimmy Dunne back to the table to head up this negotiation. The main reason why? To sweep PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan to the side.

2. Keep the players on this board "quiet" to the media — and help the PGA Tour players understand that the LIV players from the Tour will not pay any fee to rejoin the Tour.

3. Let the group that makes the decision as to what tours can have their players in the world ranking system know that LIV players will now be ranked. Tell them to set up that ranking structure, and get this world ranking system draft to both the Tour and LIV. Get each to agree on / mark up / whatever that fits into moving this negotiation along now.

4. Tournament sponsorship structure: Dunne and LIV (a.k.a. the Boards) will determine how this is set up. LIV can do this by themselves on the money side — but have this set up 50%/50% so that the prize money going into each tournament is 50% responsible to LIV and 50% responsible to the Tour.

5. LIV agrees to play four-day tournaments; the PGA Tour agrees to team golf as part of the tournaments, which they have essentially done anyway.

6. Player poaching is not allowed, but the Tour and LIV can trade players if they want to — and if the players agree. Tough one here, because the Tour is the poor boy in town ... that is their problem to address. The Tour's $3 billion investment team must already understand that the $3 trillion team it is going to be in bed with is stronger — so maybe the Tour needs to raise some more investor money.

LIV will not sign any Tour players for 12 months after the agreement is signed — unless a Tour player approaches LIV and negotiates his own singular deal. This one is going to be tough for the Tour to swallow — but the DOJ has already told both tours that restraint of trade will not be acceptable to the U.S. side.

Once the Tour/LIV get this far? The rest is simply to agree on the tournament turf for each entity. Agree that the tournament turf is also the sole recruiting grounds for those young — mostly college players I guess — players not in the top 50 ranking of top amateur players. If a player is in the top 50 ranking, he can sign any where he wants. If a player is in the Top 50 and doesn't get recruited? He is free to sign anywhere he wants. If the Tour wants to continue owning the Korn Ferry tour, then so be it. LIV is free to start its own minor league team.

Dunne and LIV reps can figure all this out so both sides can win. Get Jay and Greg Norman out of the mix of decision making. Get the players out of the final decision-making process. Yes, they can/must have input, but not any vote on what Dunne and LIV agree on.

Enough. Play golf.

Tom Powers
Bradenton, Florida
Clearly, there is an ongoing marketing issue regarding "what’s actually going on." It reminds me of past post-meeting discussions and finding any concrete results from the meetings — agreeing to meet sometime down the road is not exactly the hallmark of real progress.

Are they are trying to re-invent the wheel as though round is not the best answer? Is there really a problem in replacing a player like Lee Westwood with one like Viktor Hovland or Ludvig Aberg? Think about that for a moment.

But, as usual, there will be a new and better plan pronounced after every other has been implemented.

Where have we heard that before? Um, right after another meeting on "doing it right."

Peter Croppo
Bayfield, Ontario

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Front photo: Bryson DeChambeau during the final round of the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Credit: Fran Caffrey / Golffile