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For nearly a year now, one topic of discussion has been constant in the golf world: the PGA Tour and PIF merger. Originally scheduled to conclude by December 31, 2023, the deal has yet to find a proper direction. But if rumors are to be believed, that might soon end!

As per The New York Times, despite nearly a year since discussions first began, the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund negotiations are still “very much alive.” As per the report, the two organizations have exchanged term sheets for a potential $1.5 billion investment by the PIF into PGA Tour Enterprises, despite a string of setbacks and leadership changes.

The PIF’s possible $1.5 billion investment would equal a comparable contribution from American investors, which included billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen, who spearheaded a $1.5 billion investment in January. With a potential $3 billion war chest from these two investments, the PGA Tour will have the financial strength to move forward with the merger with LIV Golf and take on other new challenges in the professional golf industry. This new business endeavor would be mostly controlled by the PGA Tour, balancing the interests of both domestic and foreign investors.

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If, or in this case, when this merger goes through, it has the potential to make professional golf ‘whole again’ and redeem Tiger Woods and Co.’s reputation, that Jimmy Dunn recently tarnished with his bold statement about the halted merger! Just days ago, Dunne criticized the lack of progress in reaching a final agreement with the PIF and conveyed his annoyance at being marginalized during the negotiations in his letter of resignation.

Brushing aside all that Woods and the others had said about the merger making way, the former board member said, “No meaningful progress has been made towards a transaction with PIF; I feel like my vote and role is utterly superfluous.” Dunne was one of the architects of the $3 billion merger deal in June 2023 and claimed that it stung that he had “not been asked to take part in negotiations with the PIF since June 2023.”

Interestingly, Dunne wasn’t the only one to resign. Mark A. Flaherty, another independent director on the PGA Tour Policy Board, resigned earlier this week, effective immediately. Although there is no confirmation of the reason, a lot of speculation has been made that it is again related to the lack of progress in the deal and marginalized involvement in it. Flaherty wrote, “Fellow Directors, I am writing to inform you of my decision to resign from the PGA TOUR Policy Board, effective immediately.“ It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve on the policy board for the past 4 ½ years. Golf has always been a significant part of my life. Being able to blend my passion for the sport with the intricate workings and growth of the PGA Tour has been a truly rewarding experience.”

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It’s clear that the path leading to this possible accord has not been easy. In fact, ever since June 6 last year (the day the merger was announced), the roadblocks have only piled up. The biggest issue was, no doubt, that several PGA Tour players were extremely dissatisfied by this decision that Jay Monahan had taken. And even though this initially caused internal friction, with Tiger Woods getting on board and recently even providing slight insight into the matter, both players’ and fans’ minds have perhaps been slightly eased.

Did Tiger Woods hint at this potential $1.5 billion investment just last week?

Big names like Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods were added to the board to relieve player worries and bring stability back when the turbulence among players began after the announcement. Even though the Northern Irishman later resigned from his Player Director post, Since then, things seemed to go downhill; however, throughout it all, Woods and the other PGA Tour Player Directors remained unfazed. In fact, the 15-time major winner even had positive updates about the merger, and now, tracing back the steps, this recent 1.5 billion investment may just have been what he meant.

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Ahead of the Valhalla showdown last week, Woods shared an insight about the merger. “It’s ongoing; it’s fluid. It changes day-to-day,” he said willfully. It was completely opposite to Dunne’s statement, which had just come out days before his. Woods even shared that the deal had not yet reached its final stage, but things were certainly in progress. And now perhaps completion is close too!

Undoubtedly, everyone, from fans to players, eagerly awaits a conclusion to this merger. And now, even though this seems closer than ever, only time will tell when the two sides finally come together!

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