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The first major of 2024 is almost here. Yes, we are talking about the Masters Tournament that is set to kick off on April 11 and will see its end on April 14, Sunday. However, the major championship this time around will be taking place amidst the ongoing negotiations between the PGA Tour and the Public Investment Fund.

Meanwhile, on the other hand, many athletes from the PIF-funded league will also tee it off at the Augusta National in the coming month, along with those from the Jay Monahan-led circuit. Thus, one cannot help but wonder if the prestigious tournament that is taking place in April would pave the way for a better relationship between the two tours, thereby defusing the tense environment that is present around the framework agreement.

The 2024 Masters, a gathering point for LIV and PGA Tour Pros

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From former champions including the likes of Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, and Jon Rahm, among others, to special invitees including Joaquin Niemann, the upcoming major will witness a total of 13 golfers from the Greg Norman-led circuit taking part in the same. This will, undoubtedly, provide a platform for the athletes from the two circuits to mingle with each other after a long time.

Meanwhile, such a meeting will take place just two weeks after the Player Directors from the PGA Tour Policy Board met with the governor of the Saudi investment fund, Yasir Al-Rumayyan. This would, in a sense, provide a more favorable and amicable situation for both groups to interact with each other, unlike in the past.

Player Directors meet with Al-Rumayyan ahead of the Masters

Reports surfaced during THE PLAYERS Championship about a potential meeting between PAC members and the PIF governor, which Patrick Cantlay later confirmed. Soon after the tournament deemed ‘The Fifth Major’ of golf came to an end, the Tiger Woods-led players met up with the Saudi businessman in the Bahamas, with the legend hosting the same.

Following the meeting, Webb Simpson and Peter Malnati, in an interview ahead of the Valspar Championship, divulged how the merger would not happen anytime soon. “I do think it’s a while until we get there,” said Malnati, all the while alluding to the merger before adding, “I didn’t walk away with a much clearer understanding of what the future holds.”

Interestingly, Simpson also had a similar revelation to make about the meeting: “We didn’t get as far as what he wants, and what does LIV want?” said the 38-year-old as he continued, “He [Al-Rumayyan] certainly seems engaged enough in the game already that he has desires to see the game grow globally.” Anyhow, regardless of the delay in the merger, both the golfers’s comments indicate a much better relationship with the PIF, and in turn, LIV Golf, ahead of the upcoming major. Thus, it would help the players from the breakaway league, including the likes of Niemann, Adrian Meronk, and others, to interact more easily with the PGA Tour pros.

LIV Golf Pros getting recognition

Many in the community would have found it difficult to accept invitations for professionals from the Saudi-backed league to compete in the majors. However, look no more, as Niemann, the Chilean pro, was able to get into the field of a total of three majors, including the upcoming Masters, all thanks to his recent finishes, which can be dubbed nothing short of amazing.

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Aside from his recent LIV Golf finishes, including two wins, the 25-year-old was also able to emerge victorious at the 2023 ISPS Handa Australian Open, along with finishing T4 and T3 at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic and the International Series Oman, respectively. It would surely be hard to find another golfer on the PIF-funded circuit who was able to rake in such success in 2024. His invitation, which will allow him to play along with the PGA Tour pros, including the Player Directors at the Masters, was surely well deserved.

Interacting with the Player Directors on the PGA Tour

Meanwhile, during the major, the players from the Greg Norman-led circuit will get the opportunity to tee off alongside the golfers who are currently part of the Policy Board and the Board of Directors for the PGA Tour Enterprises. Thus, if they are able to make use of the opportunity to interact more closely with the stakeholders, including the 15-time major champ, it would be good for them in the long run, especially when it comes to the merger talks.

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What’s more, even Rahm expressed his desire to play alongside Scottie Scheffler in a recent interview for the major championship. Thus, in all aspects, it appears the upcoming tournament would provide a platform for the players from both circuits to mingle more with each other, thereby paving the way for a united golf front.

ALSO READ – ‘Classiest Guy’: Peter Malnati Breaks Down in Joy & Steals Fans’ Hearts After Ending 9YO Curse

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