Golf’s elite-tier PGA Tour has named businessman Joseph Gorder as chair of its PGA Tour Enterprises commercial venture.

The board of directors of PGA Tour Enterprises, which includes golf legend Tiger Woods and Gorder himself, voted unanimously to elect the latter as the first chairman of the arm.

Gorder has spent most of his career in the petroleum industry, currently serving as executive chairman of Valero Energy, having stepped down as its chief executive last year.

Valero has long been a partner of the PGA Tour, title sponsoring its annual Texas Open since 2002, and will continue to do so through 2028.

Gorder joined the policy board of the PGA Tour in 2023, a role that he will continue to fulfill alongside his new position.

Speaking on Gorder’s election, Jay Monahan, PGA Tour commissioner and PGA Tour Enterprises chief executive, stated: “Joe’s outstanding business acumen and leadership, marked by his time as chairman and CEO of a Fortune 50 company, position him perfectly to lead the PGA Tour Enterprises board as we embark on this new chapter.

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“His strategic vision is crucial as we collaborate – player directors, board members, and tour management – all pulling together to deliver the best for our fans, who are always our top priority, while also enhancing the tour overall for our players and sponsors.”

PGA Tour Enterprises was launched earlier in 2024 after the PGA Tour secured $3 billion of investment with US consortium Strategic Sports Group (SSG).

In what is described as a first-of-its-kind program, nearly 200 PGA Tour members will have the opportunity to become equity holders in PGA Tour Enterprises.

Under the program, players would collectively access over $1.5 billion in equity in PGA Tour Enterprises.

The entity is also considering participation by future PGA Tour players “that would allow them to benefit from the business’s commercial growth.”

This is widely viewed as a financial reward to players who did not defect to the rival Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit, including the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both of whom sit on its transaction subcommittee.

SSG is a consortium of American sports team owners led by Fenway Sports Group (FSG).

As part of PGA Tour Enterprises, SSG will invest an initial $1.5 billion and “provide strategic focus on maximizing revenue generation for the benefit of the players and on finding opportunities to enhance the game of golf across the world.”

FSG will also serve as commercial advisor to the new enterprise.