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Jimmy Dunne was the key architect behind the stunning merger between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund that has sent shockwaves through golf.

Dunne might not be a household name in golf but he can certainly stake his claim as one of its most important. That is because he set the wheels in motion for a ceasefire between the PGA Tour and Saudi’s sovereign wealth fund by opening up unprecedented dialogue ahead of the deal.

The American is a vice-chairman on the PGA Tour Policy Board and took part in discussions with under-fire commissioner Jay Monahan, fellow Board member Ed Herhily and the PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan to broker the deal.

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He told Rory McIlroy of the agreement just hours before it became worldwide news, and later defended its morality in reference to backlash in relation to the 9/11 terror attacks.

But who is the man who helped broker an ultra-secretive peace agreement between the warring factions in the sport?

Dunne assumed his control role on the PGA Tour Policy Board in November 2022 and has not taken long to help enact a seismic shift in the men’s professional game.

But Dunne has long been working closely with lucrative mergers due to his success in investment banking businesses.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Economics at University of Notre Dame, Dunne started on Wall Street before advancing to become senior managing principal of investment bank and financial services company Piper Sandler.

In 1988, he became one of the founding members of Sandler O’Neill and Partners and remains an important figure advising on mergers and acquisitions for the investment banking company.

Dunne resides in Palm Beach and has always been a hugely keen golfer, keeping memberships at some of the most exclusive clubs in the world.

He is a member at Augusta National, Shinnecock Hills and Pine Valley, just to name a few, as well as being president at the prestigious Seminole Golf Club.

And it appeared Dunne had initially been brought onto the PGA Tour Policy Board to dissuade players from defecting to the LIV Golf circuit before this week’s stunning news.

Instead, he is credited with bringing Monahan to the table to thrash out the deal with the new chairman of the un-named for-profit entity, Al-Rumayyan.

“The reality is that we need to come together as people,” he told the Golf Channel. “We have too much divisiveness.”

“At some point in time – whether it’s our view of the Japanese or our view of the Germans – there is a point in time where you have to say, let’s try to get to know one another. Let’s try to understand, let’s try to demonstrate by example.”

Dunne spoke on a number of key issues, including following the merger, including Saudi Arabia’s connection with the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

He was devastatingly affected by the New York atrocity in 2001, as 66 of his employees who were working in the South Tower of the World Trade Centre died. He was not in the building at the time of the attacks as he was playing in a US Mid-Amateur golf tournament.

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“Every day, the first thing that I think about is [9/11]… several times during the day, I think about it; and the last thing I think about at night is that,” Dunne said.

“That has not changed since that day. And I’m not alone in that. I would guarantee that every one of those family members has that same condition. It is just a reality of how unbelievably sad and awful that day was.

“I would guarantee that every one of those family members has that same condition. It is just a reality of how unbelievably sad and awful that day was.”

He added: “I’m quite certain – and I’ve had conversations with a lot of very knowledgeable people – that the people I’m dealing with had nothing to do with 9/11. If someone can find someone who unequivocally was involved with it, I’ll kill them myself. We don’t have to wait around.”

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