Sign up for our daily newsletter

Latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion, plus unmissable deals for bunkered subscriptions, events, and our commercial partners.

PGA Tour policy board member Randall Stephenson has resigned from his influential position in professional golf over “serious concerns” about the proposed deal with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

Former AT&T chairman Stephenson’s resignation from the PGA Tour’s policy board was first reported by the Washington Post.

In a letter obtained by the US newspaper, Stephenson, who had been part of the board for 12 years, said the bombshell framework agreement with the Saudi kingdom “is not one that I can objectively evaluate or in good conscience support, particularly in light of the U.S. intelligence report concerning Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.”

• Brooks Koepka tears into LIV teammate

• Matthew Wolff hits back at Koepka

The shock announcement on June 6 that golf’s warring factions planned to join forces was met with widespread derision and it is claimed that Stephenson was prepared to walk away from his role as early as June 12.

But Stephenson stayed in his position after under-fire PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan briefly stepped away due to an unspecified health issue.

Details of the proposed agreement show that Monahan will act as the new chief executive of a new for-profit entity that is chaired by PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan in a new golfing ecosystem.

And Monahan will return to day-to-day operations as Tour commissioner on July 17, following a July 11 Congressional hearing investigating the unforeseen partnership with the kingdom.

PGA Tour policy board vice-chairman Jimmy Dunne, who was key in orchestrating the top-secret deal, and Chief Operating Officer Ron Price are due to testify before a congressional subcommittee over the Saudi alliance on Tuesday.

The so-called merger crucially still needs approval from the Tour’s policy board, which is made up of ten names – including five player directors, to be pushed through.

The Tour states that Stephenson’s replacement will be selected by the Independent Directors on the board, following consultation with player directors Rory McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson, Charley Hoffman and Peter Malnati.

• The Open: Stats show test of Royal Liverpool

• Michelle Wie West bids farewell

Stephenson’s resignation departure points to a key stumbling block in finalising the deal, with the members who were previously left in the dark about the deal now needing to approve it.

“I joined this board 12 years ago to serve the best players in the world and to expand the virtues of sportsmanship instilled through the game of golf,” Stephenson continued in his resignation statement.

“I hope, as this board moves forward, it will comprehensively rethink its governance model and keep its options open to evaluate alternative sources of capital beyond the current framework agreement.”

author headshot

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.

More Reads

Image Turnberry green

The bunkered Golf Course Guide - Scotland

Now, with bunkered, you can discover the golf courses Scotland has to offer. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.

Find Courses