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Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund put forward proposals for Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy to own LIV Golf teams should the merger with the PGA Tour go through.
That was just one of a number of bombshells in a 276-page document released by the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations at a hearing regarding the planned alliance in Washington DC on Tuesday.
On a page titled “Proposals for Consideration”, LIV requested Woods and McIlroy play in at least 10 of the league’s events, with the “participation of other leading players subject to further discussions”.
Woods and McIlroy have spoken out against LIV on a number of occasions, with the Northern Irishman, in his role on the PGA Tour’s Policy Board, particularly vocal. But the document suggests McIlroy met PIF chairman Yasir Al-Rumayan in Dubai last November.
Their proposal would include 16 team captains with a live televised NFL-style draft. “To increase Ryder Cup level of interest,” it reads, “this may also include the constitution of national teams”. It then, somewhat bizarrely, suggests “4 x US teams including Rory and Tiger (if fit)”.
It goes on to argue that “the introduction of national teams should work well as it creates real jeopardy and excitement for broadcasters and fans”, while also proposing a qualifying tournament held in Saudi Arabia, with the final week in Dubai.
Among other requests, including a “minimum of two PGA Tour elevated events to be branded under Aramco and/or PIF flags” – one of which would be in Saudi Arabia – and for the PGA Tour to help LIV Golf with broadcasting partners, PIF chairman Yasir Al-Rumayan has also called to become a director of the International Golf Federation, as well as receiving membership of Augusta and the R&A.
The document adds that “as part of this, LIV Golf is to review its senior management structure and board composition”, with the PGA Tour requesting that the services of Greg Norman and Performance54 – the London-based consultancy behind LIV Golf – are “dismissed by a specific date”.
Another page, titled “Foundational Principles and Objectives”, lists a number of compromises made in “good faith” to establish a “win-win situation for all parties”.
This includes the PGA Tour and LIV Golf ending “their respective legal actions immediately” as well as initiating “a cooling-off period for PR purposes”.
There will also be a “joint governance of the game of golf on an equal-footing basis” that will include “cross ownership of media rights” as well as “players rights, tournament schedules, and co-sanctioned events”.
The PIF is also calling for LIV golfers to have their full PGA Tour playing status restored, as well as receive Official World Golf Ranking points, which will be updated retrospectively to include the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons.
In addition, they want “unfettered access to majors as per normal qualifying criteria”, as well as full Ryder and Presidents Cup rights to be restored.
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