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Jay Monahan insists that the PGA Tour remains in negotiations with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, despite striking a reported $3bn deal with a consortium of US-based investors in January.

Speaking ahead of this week’s 50th anniversary PLAYERS Championship, the PGA Tour commissioner confirmed that he had travelled to the Middle East for talks with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the PIF, in January

And whilst he refused to be drawn on specifics, he did reveal that both sides remain keen to do a deal.

“Our negotiations are accelerating,” said Monahan. “We still have several key issues to work through but we have a shared vision to quiet the noise and unlock golf’s worldwide potential.

“It’s going to take time.”

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He added: “I do believe that negotiating a deal with PIF is the best outcome. Obviously, it has to be the right deal for both sides.”

In a wide-ranging – and, at times, tense – press conference that lasted just short of an hour, Monahan’s answer to a question about the prospect of a PGA Tour return for players who left to join LIV was symptomatic of his response to most questions about the status of negotiations between golf’s two feuding circuits.

“We’ve made and continue to make real progress in our negotiations and our discussions with the PIF,” he said. “I recognise that this is frustrating for all of you, but it really is not in the best interest of the PGA Tour and our membership and for PIF for me to be talking about where we are with specific elements of our discussions.

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“I, again, I would just stress the fact that we’re engaged, we’re making progress, but I’m really not at liberty to share any of the details on that front.”

Some other key takeaways from Monahan’s presser…

On what, if anything, he would have done differently over the last three years:

“When you look back to last summer, I could have handled that better, and I’ve taken full responsibility and accountability for that. That’s on me. But we’ve moved on, and we’ve made so much progress since that point in time and I have learned from it. I’ve been humbled by it. I think I’ve gotten stronger as a leader.”

On whether or not he discussed a return to the PGA Tour with Anthony Kim:

“I did not have direct conversations with Anthony. Members of our team did, and they very clearly laid out what it would take for him to earn his way back to the PGA TOUR. I’m glad that Anthony is healthy and well, and we wish him well.”

On whether or not he has faced direct calls to resign by any PGA Tour Player Director:

“There’s been a lot of good spirited debate amongst our board. I don’t think that would be a surprise to anybody, you know, given the events of last summer. But we are a unified front… I can’t generalise as it relates to players, but clearly given the responsibility I’ve been given by both boards, I have the support of our board, and I am the right person to lead us forward. I know that. I believe that in my heart, and I’m determined to do exactly that.”

On Rory McIlroy’s ‘vision’ for a world tour:

“That concept, along with a number of other concepts, have been discussed at the Policy Board, including [during] Rory’s time on the Policy Board. Part of the dynamic of being commissioner of the PGA Tour is balancing the perspectives of not only our entire membership but perspectives of our board members, and it’s indisputable that this is a global sport.”

On the prospect of creating a past champions exemption to allow Tiger Woods to continue to compete at The PLAYERS:

“I think you all know Tiger well enough to know that he wants to earn his way into every competition. That’s his make-up… he would be the hardest one to convince.”

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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