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Barely two hours after the conclusion of a thrilling PGA Championship, the PGA Tour was thrown into further chaos with the resignation of a second independent director in the space of a week. 

Jimmy Dunne, the man largely responsible for the framework agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, quit last Monday in frustration that “no meaningful progress has been made towards a transaction with PIF” – the sole backers of the rival LIV Golf League.

Dunne wrote in his resignation letter to PGA Tour members that “my vote and my role is utterly superfluous” with independent directors now outnumbered by player directors on the Policy Board.

And now – in what can only be viewed as another significant blow  – the US circuit has lost another board member.

Fresh turmoil for PGA Tour as PIF deal-broker quits

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Mark Flaherty was the latest to step down on Sunday night, leaving chairman Ed Herlihy, Joe Gorder and Mary Meeker as the only independent directors left on the board.

The news was announced in a memo sent out by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.

“It’s been an honour and a privilege to serve on the Policy Board for the past 4 1⁄2 years,” Flaherty wrote in his resignation letter. “Golf has always been a significant part of my life. Being able to blend my passion for the sport with the intricate workings and growth of the PGA Tour has been a truly rewarding experience.”

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Tiger Woods was added as the sixth player director on the board last year in response to anger caused by the top-secret proposed PIF deal. He joined Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott, Webb Simpson and Peter Malnati in the boardroom.

And it had appeared Rory McIlroy would be re-appointed to help expedite the stalling PIF negotiations, but the Northern Irishman was blocked, suggesting other player directors were uncomfortable with the prospect of his return.

Before the PGA Championship, McIlroy conceded that Dunne’s shock resignation left him feeling even more uncertain that a resolution will be found between the game’s warring factions.

“I think it’s a huge loss for the PGA Tour, if they are trying to get this deal done with the PIF and trying to unify the game,” McIlroy said of Dunne’s departure.

“Jimmy was basically the relationship, the sort of conduit between the PGA Tour and PIF. It’s been really unfortunate that he has not been involved for the last few months, and I think part of the reason that everything is stalling at the minute is because of that.

“We’ll see where it goes from here and we’ll see what happens but I would say my confidence level on something getting done before last week was as low as it had been.”

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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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