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With the latest framework agreement deadline approaching, Paul McGinley has warned golf fans not to hold their breath in anticipation of a peace deal being struck.

Negotiations between the PGA Tour, LIV Golf and the DP World Tour to unify the fractured sport were unveiled in June last year, with a deadline of December 31, 2023, imposed for that agreement to be formalised into something more substantial.

When it became clear that would be missed, the deadline was pushed back to this year’s Masters Tournament.

That is now just over a week away and, with no resolution in sight, former Ryder Cup captain McGinley believes the sport’s fed up fans should prepare for potentially years more of schism to come.

Asked about the prospect of a deal being on the horizon during an appearance on RTÉ Sport radio this weekend, he replied: “Don’t hold your breath. I think both parties are still wide away from each other in terms of where the common ground is.

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“[The Masters] is the first time since The Open that we’re going to see all the best players in the world back together again in terms of playing an event.

“Obviously, it’s a divided and diluted product at the moment.

“When Jon Rahm went, everybody said ‘oh, there has to be a deal now, he’s No.2 player in the world’. And here we are, four months down the road from Jon going, and really, there’s no sign of a deal.”

Speculation that the framework agreement is on the brink of collapse has been rife since the PGA Tour struck a separate deal with the Strategic Sports Group in February.

And despite insistence from PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan that he remains committed to finding common ground with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia that bankrolls LIV Golf, the lack of meaningful progress is making fans both skeptical and frustrated.

“There’s a lot of resolve on the PGA Tour side to say, ‘We’re okay, we’ve got this investment in from the Strategic Sports Group, let’s batten down the hatches and go’,” added McGinley.

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“And LIV are the same: ‘If you’re doing that, well we’ll batten down the hatches too and we’ll go.

“And I’m in the middle thinking, ‘Well that’s not going to be good for golf.’ I hope that doesn’t happen. But we could have to be resigned to that.

“It could be a few more years before we see any kind of daylight, unfortunately. And I don’t think golf is going to thrive in that period of time.”

McGinley cautioned that the amount of money being thrown at the game’s top players also risks turning off fans of the game – if it hasn’t already.

“I think the public are fed up with that,” he said. “It’s the rich getting richer.

“It’s professional golf – which wasn’t poor anyway – and people are losing their minds because of money. Making decisions based on money. And the game is being lost.

“I think there’s a lot of public apathy towards the game. That’s why viewing figures are down as much as they are. And that’s why LIV has also not ignited.

“Golf has got to be very, very careful here that the public will get fed up at the end of the day.”

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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