Golf’s PGA Tour policy board has agreed to advance investment talks with a new consortium led by Fenway Sports Group (FSG), the US sports ownership group, as negotiations with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) over its proposed merger with the rival LIV Golf circuit comes to a head.

The tour’s board, consisting of six players and five independent directors, notified member players yesterday (December 10) of its unanimous decision to further explore a potential partnership with Strategic Sports Group (SSG) and the tour’s new PGA Tour Enterprises project.

Along with FSG, which owns English soccer's Liverpool and Major League Baseball side Red Sox, SSG investors include other sports team owners such as Marc Attansio (Milwaukee Brewers), Arthur Blank (Atlanta Falcons), Cohen Private Ventures (New York Mets), Wyc Grousbeck (Boston Celtic), Tom Ricketts (Chicago Cubs), and Marc Lasry (Milwaukee Bucks), as well as Gerry Cardinale, managing partner of RedBird Capital which owns Italian soccer giant AC Milan.

Before joining the PGA Tour, commissioner Jay Monahan served as an executive vice president at FSG. Lasry, Blank, Cohen, and Werner are also team owners in the TGL golf league founded by Tiger Woods.

The memo said: “Over the past several days, we have met to thoroughly review, discuss, and debate the extremely strong proposals submitted by a final set of outside investors.

“Yesterday, we unanimously agreed to further negotiate with Strategic Sports Group, a consortium of US-based professional sports team investors led by FSG … we also anticipate advancing our negotiations with PIF in the weeks to come. Further, the DP World Tour will continue to be an important part of the process as we build toward PGA Tour Enterprises.

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“Please know that while we can’t get into more details at this time, we are very confident in an eventual, positive outcome for all players and the PGA Tour as a whole.”

PGA Tour Enterprises is the new for-profit company at the center of a framework agreement uniting the PGA Tour, DP World Tour (formerly European Tour), and PIF-backed LIV Golf circuit announced in June, which gives the three parties until December 31 to agree on a binding contract.

According to the framework agreement, the for-profit assets of the three circuits will be combined into PGA Tour Enterprises. After an evaluation of those assets, the PIF, which owns 93% of LIV Golf, will make a minority investment into the new entity.

PGA Tour Enterprises will be an umbrella for all future golf-related investments of the three groups and plans to create financial returns through “targeted mergers and acquisitions to globalize the sport.” The PIF, meanwhile, will invest in both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour as a “premier corporate sponsor.”

Monahan, meanwhile, has expressed his confidence that the tour’s deal with PIF will be completed by the end of the year and is set to meet with PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan to finalize details of the deal.

Under the proposed framework agreement, Monahan would be the chief executive and Al-Rumayyan the chair of the new company. Al-Rumayyan also would have a seat on the PGA Tour board, though the PGA had assurances in the preliminary deal that it would always have a majority vote.

Meanwhile, the long-standing title sponsor of one of the PGA Tour’s biggest events has announced it is ending its partnership with the organization.

Financial services company Wells Fargo has sponsored the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2011 but said it will not renew its contract with the tour after 2024.

A statement by the company said: “Wells Fargo is not renewing the Wells Fargo Championship as a signature event in 2025 and beyond.

“We are incredibly proud of the 20-plus year history of the championship. The tournament has generated significant local impact and delighted golf fans in Charlotte and across the country. Since 2003, the Wells Fargo Championship has generated more than $30 million in support of numerous charitable foundations.”

In response, the tour plans to remain in Charlotte and is meeting with potential replacement title sponsors.

The event was elevated to a “signature” event on the PGA Tour this year as part of its efforts to increase compensation to players amid competition with LIV. This year’s edition boasted a $20 million prize purse, up from $9 million in 2022. The winner, Wyndham Clark received $3.6 million.

Last month, a new funding model was launched by the PGA Tour to account for the bigger prize pools on offer, including tournaments putting more towards the purse through increased sponsorship fees.