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The meeting between the PGA Tour’s transaction committee and representatives of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund will happen on Friday, but Rory McIlroy insists those representing the players won’t have much of a role to play. 

“This is big boy stuff,” he told reporters at The Memorial. 

While Tiger Woods and Adam Scott are expected to be in the room when the meeting takes place in New York, McIlroy will join via a video link following his second round at Muirfield Village. 

Other committee members present will be PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, board liaison Joe Ogilvie, PGA Tour Enterprises chairman Joe Gorder, and John Henry, founder of investment company Fenway Sports and a leading player in the Strategic Sports Group, which earlier this year pumped $1.5 billion into PGA Tour Enterprises, with more on the way. Among the PIF representatives will be its governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan. 

McIlroy, who said the transaction committee has been having regular meetings with PIF for the last few weeks, said: “There’s going to be people in that room on the PGA Tour side who are going to take the lead.

“And it’s not going to be Adam, Tiger or [me]. It’s going to be the business guys. We’re there to give a perspective from a player’s point of view. 

“This is a negotiation about an investment in the PGA Tour Enterprises, this is big boy stuff. And I’ll certainly be doing more listening than I will be doing talking.” 

Despite being a year on from the original framework agreement announcement, McIlroy admits he still doesn’t really know the level of investment from PIF that will be allowed – and a lot of it hangs on the rules laid out by the United States’ Department of Justice. 

“Depending on what the DOJ allows, it might have to be a very passive investment,” he explained. “I don’t know what’s in their head. I don’t know if that is something that they are willing to do. We’ll find out. 

“There’s a lot of stuff that goes beyond my knowledge and expertise in terms of the investment side of things, and certainly the regulatory side of things as well.  

“We’re on this transaction committee to give a perspective from a player. But that’s going to be a conversation between SSG and the executives of the Tour. 

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McIlroy, though, is not one to shy away from an opinion. The conversation, naturally, turned to LIV Golf, which is funded by PIF and chaired by Al-Rumayyan.  

“I certainly don’t see in the next couple of years LIV slowing down,” McIlroy said. “They’re buying office space in New York. They have over 200 employees. And I haven’t heard any of those guys say that they don’t want to play over there either, right? You’ve got guys who are on contracts until 2028, 2029. 

“Looking a few years down the line, LIV is going to continue down its path.  

“But hopefully, with more of a collaboration or an understanding between the tours, maybe there is some cross-pollination there where players can start to play on both [tours].  

“I guess that will all be talked about in the coming weeks. 

“But first and foremost, Yasir is the governor of the PIF and the chairman of Aramco. Those are the two titles he holds. His biggest thing is making returns on his investments and to do good by the Kingdom. That’s his whole purpose in what he is doing.  

“If he thinks that investing in PGA Tour Enterprises is a good investment and he can make return on his money and also get a seat at the table, he may see that as a win.” 

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Alex Perry is the Associate Editor of bunkered. A journalist for more than 20 years, he has been a golf industry stalwart for the majority of his career and, in a five-year spell at ESPN, covered every sporting event you can think of. He completed his own Grand Slam at the 2023 Masters, having fallen in love with the sport at his hometown club of Okehampton and on the links of nearby Bude & North Cornwall.

Associate Editor

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