Woods and McIlroy among PGA Tour cohort to share $750m windfall – news today


Just 36 of the PGA Tour’s top players, including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, will share $750m of equity in the new commercial entity created in alliance with a group of US-based sports team owners in a bid to safeguard the business from the threat of LIV Golf. The figure relates to half of the total equity due to be handed to players and is sure to raise eyebrows elsewhere on the PGA Tour.

It was confirmed last week that the PGA Tour had struck a deal, worth $3bn in total, with a consortium led by the Fenway Sports Group. There is a plan for Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which finances LIV, to also invest but that remains subject to regulatory pressures.

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It was known players would be the winners from golf’s latest deal but the PGA Tour has now written to members, clarifying how an initial $930m in equity will be distributed.

There are four categories. In the first and most striking, 36 golfers will be given access to $750m according to “career performance, last five-year performance and player impact programme results”. In the player impact scheme, highly controversial in itself, golfers were effectively given bonuses worth tens of millions for bringing eyeballs to the PGA Tour. A number of the Tour’s rank and file have made plain their displeasure about how the riches are distributed; this top-heavy approach is unlikely to placate them despite the blunt reality that players such as Woods and McIlroy heavily drive interest in the sport.

Group two is for 64 players and $75m of equity, granted for performance over the last three years. Another 57 players will share $30m of equity if they have “earned certain PGA Tour fully exempt categories”. The final portion, worth $75m, is for 36 players who were “instrumental in building the modern PGA Tour based on career performance”. In ordinary times, Phil Mickelson would inevitably have earned via the last set of criteria but he is among those ostracised from the PGA Tour after joining LIV. The PGA Tour has been sure to stress the money is for “eligible” members. Players can only earn via one grouping.

LIV’s third season continues this week in Las Vegas, with the PGA Tour making its traditional stop in Phoenix.

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