• Election 2024
  • Entertainment
  • Photography
  • Press Releases
  • Israel-Hamas War
  • Russia-Ukraine War
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Asia Pacific
  • AP Top 25 College Football Poll
  • Movie reviews
  • Book reviews
  • Financial Markets
  • Business Highlights
  • Financial wellness
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Social Media

PGA Tour and European tour agree to merge with Saudis and end LIV Golf feud

FILE - Team champions David Puig, Sebastián Muñoz, Mito Pereira, Captain Joaquín Niemann of Torque GC and their caddies celebrate on stage with the team trophy during LIV Golf DC at the Trump National Golf Club in Washington Sunday, May 28, 2023, in Sterling, Virginia. The most disruptive year in golf ended Tuesday, June 6, 2023, when the PGA Tour and European tour agreed to a merger with Saudi Arabia’s golf interests, creating a commercial operation designed to unify professional golf around the world.(Photo by Chris Trotman/LIV Golf via AP, File)

FILE - Yasir Al-Rumayyan attends the champion’s ceremony at the LIV Golf Invitational-Chicago tournament Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Sugar Hill, Ill. The most disruptive year in golf ended Tuesday, June 6, 2023, when the PGA Tour and European tour agreed to a merger with Saudi Arabia’s golf interests, creating a commercial operation designed to unify professional golf around the world. Al-Rumayyan, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, will join the board of the PGA Tour, which continues to operates its tournaments. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

FILE - Signage for LIV Golf is displayed during the pro-am round of the Bedminster Invitational LIV Golf tournament in Bedminster, NJ., Thursday, July 28, 2022. The most disruptive year in golf ended Tuesday, June 6, 2023, when the PGA Tour and European tour agreed to a merger with Saudi Arabia’s golf interests, creating a commercial operation designed to unify professional golf around the world.(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman looks on during the final round of LIV Golf DC at Trump National, Sunday, May 28, 2023, in Sterling, Va. (Chris Trotman/LIV Golf via AP)

Former President Donald Trump plays during the LIV Golf Pro-Am at Trump National Golf Club, Thursday, May 25, 2023, in Sterling, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Former President Donald Trump talks with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, during the first round of the LIV Golf Tournament at Trump National Golf Club, Friday, May 26, 2023, in Sterling, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Copy Link copied

The PGA Tour abruptly dropped its expensive fight with Saudi Arabia’s LIV Golf venture on Tuesday and instead announced a stunning merger that creates a global operation featuring the world’s top players backed by the Saudis’ massive wealth.

As part of the deal merging the PGA Tour and European tour with Saudi Arabia’s golf interests, the sides immediately are dropping all lawsuits involving LIV Golf.

From the golf side, still to be determined is how players like Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson can rejoin the PGA Tour after defecting last year for signing bonuses reported to be in the $150 million range.

From the commercial side, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund joins the PGA Tour board of directors and leads the new business venture as chairman, though the PGA Tour will have a majority stake.

FILE - Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. celebrates his two-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Toronto. Juan Soto, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Pete Alonso are among 194 players across Major League Baseball still negotiating salaries for the 2024 season leading into Thursday’s Jan. 11, 2024, deadline. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

News of the deal came as a surprise to many watchers of the lawsuits and Saudi Arabia’s inroads into U.S. politics, sports and culture.

“This is a huge development and obviously upends a world of golf, which has been perhaps more tradition-bound in the past,” said Kristian Ulrichsen, a Middle East fellow at Houston’s Baker Institute.

Under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has made a point of seeking out investments, like LIV, where it could shake up existing industries, Ulrichsen said.

“That’s sort of one of their mantras, is to try to be disruptive and to take on the status quo,” he said. “And in this case, they seem to have succeeded.”

The announcement comes a year after LIV Golf began . PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan was at the Canadian Open that week and said pointedly about any player who joined LIV or was thinking about it: “Have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?”

Now they are partners, giving Saudi Arabia a commercial voice in golf’s premier organization.

“I recognize everything I’ve said in the past. I recognize people will call me a hypocrite,” Monahan said in a conference call Tuesday evening. “Any time I’ve said anything, I’ve said it with the information I had, and I said it with someone trying to compete with our tour and our players.”

Most PGA Tour players were bewildered by the shocking turnaround. It didn’t help that a news outlet broke the embargoed announcement before Monahan could send a memo to the players. Most learned of the development on social media.

“I love finding out about morning news on Twitter,” two-time major champion Collin Morikawa tweeted .

Many were not happy. Wesley Bryan tweeted , “I feel betrayed, and will not ... be able to trust anyone within the corporate structure of the PGA Tour for a very long time.”

Byeong Hun An added on Twitter : “I’m guessing the liv teams were struggling to get sponsors and pga tour couldn’t turn down the money. Win-win for both tours but it’s a big lose for who defended the tour for last two years.”

“They were going down their path, we were going down ours, and after a lot of introspection you realize all this tension in the game is not a good thing,” Monahan said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.

“We have a responsibility to our tour and to the game, and we felt like the time was right to have that conversation.”

Monahan held a player meeting at the Canadian Open, though most top players are not there. He described the meeting as “intense, certainly heated.”

And while this likely will only lead to greater riches in golf, there still was explaining to do on why the tour would merge with a group that tried to take away some of the PGA Tour’s best players and was seen as the latest example of “sportswashing.”

The deal was in the works for the last seven weeks, when Monahan first met with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Public Investment Fund. Players typically approve changes to the schedule and other competition matters. On this one, they were left out.

“No one had word of this,” Monahan said. “Our players expect us to operate in the best interests of the tour.”

Instead, he cited guidance from corporate members of the PGA Tour board.

Still, Monahan has his toughest work ahead of him.

He sought loyalty from his players against a league accused of taking part in sportswashing, an attempt by Saudi Arabia to shift focus away from its human rights abuses, such as the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Now the very group that posed such a threat is the commercial partner of the PGA Tour and European tour.

“The divisiveness is now over, and two years of disruption and distractions ... is over and now we can concentrate on building our respective tours,” said Keith Pelley, CEO of the European tour. “And we are building it with PIF, who is clearly committed to the game.”

Along the way, PGA Tour players also got rich. The tour raised prize money at elite events to $20 million, the same purse for LIV’s individual competition. The 2024 schedule has been reshaped for roughly 16 tournaments like that.

“In the short term, I expect a lot of questions and criticism,” Monahan said. “In the long run, players who stayed with the PGA Tour will see they benefited in many ways.”

The agreement combines the Public Investment Fund’s golf-related commercial businesses and rights — including LIV Golf — with those of the PGA and European tours. The new entity has not been named.

Al-Rumayyan will join the board of the PGA Tour, which continues to operates its tournaments. The PIF will invest in the commercial venture.

“From the very beginning, the whole initiative was how to grow the game of golf,” Al-Rumayyan said. “And I think what was achieved today was exactly that.”

Augusta National and the Royal & Ancient welcomed the news because it ends a bitter feud. Augusta National said the deal “represents a positive development in bringing harmony to men’s professional golf.” R&A CEO Martin Slumbers said it would help golf “move forward in a collaborative, constructive and innovative fashion.”

As for the new role of Greg Norman, Al-Rumayyan said only that Norman is LIV Golf’s commissioner and details of his future role would be announced in the coming weeks.

Monahan’s memo to players indicated a strong Saudi Arabian presence. He said PIF would make a financial investment to become a “premier corporate sponsor” of the PGA Tour, the European tour and other international tours.

The PIF initially will be the exclusive investor in the new entity and will have the exclusive right to further invest, including a right of first refusal on any capital that may be invested.

Al-Rumayyan has been spotted wearing a “MAGA” hat during LIV events at courses owned by former President Donald Trump.

Trump predicted last July that a merger was inevitable and said anyone not signing with the Saudi league would be losing out. He weighed in Tuesday and called it a “glamorous deal for the wonderful world of golf.”

Monahan said the merger came together the last seven weeks, with PGA Tour board member Jimmy Dunne responsible for bringing together Monahan and Al-Rumayyan. Dunne and Ed Herlihy, chairman of the PGA Tour’s board, will serve on the board of the commercial venture.

Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau were among 11 players who filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour last August. LIV joined as plaintiffs , and the PGA Tour countersued.

The concern for PIF was whether its leaders could be deposed, which Saudi Arabia wanted to avoid. Being open to depositions would leave the kingdom’s leaders more vulnerable to legal action, including lawsuits demanding they reveal business deals in the United States.

A federal judge had ruled the PIF could not claim immunity from the Foreign Service Immunity Act because of its commercial work with LIV Golf in the U.S.

The PIF appealed the ruling to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which was likely to extend the lawsuit deep into 2024 if not longer.

Associated Press writer Ellen Knickmeyer in Washington and AP Sports Writer Steve Douglas in Stockholm contributed to this report.

AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

european tour saudi arabia

Saudi International

02/04 – 02/07/2021

European Tour : Saudi International 2021

Royal Greens G&CC – King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi-Arabia

  • Prize money: $ 3.500.000
  • Defending champion: Graeme McDowell

Top 5 Leaderboard - Saudi International 2021

no leaderboards available …

Show full Leaderboard of the Saudi International 2021

All professional sports news for you!

Saudi International: Live scoring, background reports and much more. Create your free Golf Post account and personalize the news feed to your interests.

Tournament information - Saudi International 2021 - European Tour

The Saudi International in the season 2021 is being played in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi-Arabien at the Royal Greens G&CC. The tournament starts at the Thursday, 4th of February and ends at the Sunday, 7th of February 2021.

The Saudi International is part of the European Tour in the season 2021. In 2021 all players competing for a total prize money of $ 3.500.000.

The course for the tournament at Royal Greens G&CC plays at Par 70.

Become part of the most active golf community

Golf Post App

Golf Post App

With the Golf Post App you will always stay up to date and in contact with your golf buddies and the golf clubs in your region. The editorial content of Golf Post, deals and promotions can of course also be found in the app. Be there!

First, register at Golf Post

In order to this you first have to register with Golf Post.

and always stay up to date

Other great advantages with a Golf Post account:

  • Current news from the golf world tailored to your interests
  • Discover exciting events and deals in your area
  • Helpful recommendations on golf clubs and regions

european tour saudi arabia

InsideGolf

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share by Email

Make 2024 your best golf year ever with:

2021 Saudi International: How to watch this week’s star-studded European Tour event

This week the European Tour heads to Saudi Arabia for the 2021 Saudi International , and plenty of big-name golfers from the States are making the trip to fight for the trophy, too. Here’s everything you need to know to watch the tournament.

Saudi International Preview

If you’re used to watching the PGA Tour, you should recognize plenty of familiar faces at this week’s Saudi International. A host of star Tour pros will be at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia, to compete in the third-ever playing of the tournament. Among them is the most decorated player in the field: Phil Mickelson . No one competing can top his five major wins, but Mickelson’s game has not been on point lately, as he finished T53 at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open

But the player who finished on top of the pack at the Farmers, Patrick Reed , is also teeing it up this week. Reed is the hottest topic in the game right now thanks to his win and the controversial free-relief scenario he got himself into on Saturday .

a spectator at the Saudi Ladies International event in 2020

How and why Saudi Arabia is trying to spark a golf craze

The top-ranked golfer in the world right now is 2020 Masters champion Dustin Johnson . Johnson won the inaugural Saudi International in 2019 , and now he’s back to attempt a second Saudi victory and maintain his No.1 ranking. Defending champion Graeme McDowell will also be in attendance, as will reigning U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau , Tony Finau, Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood and many more.

While the tournament runs Thursday through Sunday, the venue for this week’s event is eight hours ahead of the Eastern time zone in the United States. So if you’re watching from the East Coast of the U.S., the first groups will actually tee off on Wednesday at 11:10 p.m. ET. You can find complete information about streaming the 2021 Saudi International online or watching the action on TV below, as well as complete first round tee times.

Saudi International Basics

What: 2021 Saudi International Where: Royal Greens G&CC, King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia When: Thursday-Sunday, February 4-7 Winner’s share: $3.5 million Last year’s champion: Graeme McDowell

How to watch the Saudi International on TV

With a cable subscription, you can watch the 2021 Saudi International on Golf Chanel. Golf Channel will air five hours of coverage each day Thursday-Friday, with four and a half hours of coverage on Saturday and Sunday. Check out the full TV schedule below.

Thursday, Feb. 4: 3-5 a.m. ET; 6:30-9:30 a.m. ET (Golf Channel) Friday, Feb. 5: 3-5 a.m. ET; 6:30-9:30 a.m. ET (Golf Channel) Saturday, Feb. 6: 4:30-9 a.m. ET (Golf Channel) Sunday, Feb. 7: 4:30-9 a.m. ET (Golf Channel)

How to watch the Saudi International online, streaming

You can stream the complete Golf Channel coverage of the 2021 Saudi International online Thursday through Sunday at golfchannel.com/watch by logging in with your cable credentials.

2021 Saudi International tee times: Round 1 (ET)

11:10 p.m. – KAWAMURA, Masahiro; WARING, Paul; ORMSBY, Wade 11:20 p.m. – FOX, Ryan; LORENZO-VERA, Mike; MCEVOY, Richard 11:30 p.m. – COETZEE, George; HILL, Calum; LANGASQUE, Romain 11:40 p.m. – BURMESTER, Dean; APHIBARNRAT, Kiradech; MOLINARI, Edoardo 11:50 p.m. – WOOD, Chris; KITAYAMA, Kurt; KINHULT, Marcus 12:00 a.m. – BROBERG, Kristoffer; HEBERT, Benjamin; LEE, Min Woo 12:10 a.m. – WU, Ashun; BROWN, Steven; LUITEN, Joost 12:20 a.m. – ELVIRA, Nacho; WALTERS, Justin; ZANOTTI, Fabrizio 12:30 a.m. – LAPORTA, Francesco; HORSEY, David; IEFFER, Maximilian 12:40 a.m. – HOWELL, David; DETRY, Thomas; McGOWAN, Ross 12:50 a.m. – QUIROS, Alvaro; PORTEOUS, Haydn; KJELDSEN, Søren 1:00 a.m. – DUNNE, Paul; SODERBERG, Sebastian; HALL, Harry 3:50 a.m. – SOUTHGATE, Matthew; WARREN, Marc; SAMOOJA, Kalle 4:00 a.m. – ARNAUS, Adri; NIENABER, Wilco; VÄLIMÄKI, Sami 4:10 a.m. – CABRERA BELLO, Rafa; RAI, Aaron; ANCER, Abraham 4:20 a.m. – STENSON, Henrik; REED, Patrick; HØJGAARD, Rasmus 4:30 a.m. – POULTER, Ian; WILLETT, Danny; HOVLAND, Viktor 4:40 a.m. – MCDOWELL, Graeme; CASEY, Paul; MACINTYRE, Robert 4:50 a.m. – ELS, Ernie; BEZUIDENHOUT, Christiaan; KOKRAK, Jason 5:00 a.m. – JIMÉNEZ, Miguel Ángel; BJØRN, Thomas; SCHWAB, Matthias 5:10 a.m. – SCHAPER, Jayden; ALMULLA, Othman; FISHER, Oliver 5:20 a.m. – CATLIN, John; AL SHARIF, Saud; BJÖRK, Alexander 5:30 a.m. – SHARVIN, Cormac; GAGLI, Lorenzo; HIGGO, Garrick

11:10 p.m. – HARDING, Justin; OTAEGUI, Adrian; SULLIVAN, Andy 11:20 p.m. – ROZNER, Antoine; LARRAZÁBAL, Pablo; KANAYA, Takumi 11:30 p.m. – PIETERS, Thomas; CANTER, Laurie; LI, Haotong 11:40 p.m. – MICKELSON, Phil; FLEETWOOD, Tommy; WIESBERGER, Bernd 11:50 p.m. – GARCIA, Sergio; FINAU, Tony; LOWRY, Shane 12:00 a.m. – DECHAMBEAU, Bryson; WALLACE, Matt; ROSE, Justin 12:10 a.m. – JOHNSON, Dustin; WESTWOOD, Lee; HATTON, Tyrrell 12:20 a.m. – NA, Kevin; PEREZ, Victor; KAYMER, Martin 12:30 a.m. – SHARMA, Shubhankar; VEGAS, Jhonattan; STONE, Brandon 12:40 a.m. – STERNE, Richard; CAMPILLO, Jorge; GALLACHER, Stephen 12:50 a.m. – HANSEN, Joachim B.; KORHONEN, Mikko; SMITH, Jordan 1:00 a.m. – GUERRIER, Julien; AL KURDI, Shergo; PAVON, Matthieu 3:50 a.m. – LAW, David; ROUSAUD, Eduard; PAVAN, Andrea 4:00 a.m. – GREEN, Gavin; LOMBARD, Zander; PAISLEY, Chris 4:10 a.m. – DRYSDALE, David; WILSON, Oliver; JANEWATTANANOND, Jazz 4:20 a.m. – SURI, Julian; FORREST, Grant; MORRISON, James 4:30 a.m. – JAMIESON, Scott; CROCKER, Sean; BERTASIO, Nino 4:40 a.m. – FISHER, Ross; JOHNSTON, Andrew; CHESTERS, Ashley 4:50 a.m. – LIPSKY, David; HEND, Scott; LEVY, Alexander 5:00 a.m. – MIGLIOZZI, Guido; SCRIVENER, Jason; HERBERT, Lucas 5:10 a.m. – DUBUISSON, Victor; WINTHER, Jeff; DONALDSON, Jamie 5:20 a.m. – PARATORE, Renato; SALHAB, Faisal; RAMSAY, Richie 5:30 a.m. – PULKKANEN, Tapio; JACQUELIN, Raphaël; STALTER, Joël

Shop the best-selling products in our Pro Shop

european tour saudi arabia

Linksoul ½ Zip Boardwalker Hoodie

 alt=

Adidas Ultimate365 3 Stripes

european tour saudi arabia

Nicklaus Bucket Hat: Limited Edition (Green S…

Latest in news, nelly korda's wild comeback, liv signings, bumpy greens | monday finish, 2024 at&t pebble beach pro-am: tv schedule, streaming, how to watch, 2024 at&t pebble beach pro-am odds: our long-shot pick is ready for breakthrough moment, tour confidential: anthony kim's potential return, dunlap's decision, lpga star power, kevin cunningham.

As managing producer for GOLF.com, Cunningham edits, writes and publishes stories on GOLF.com, and manages the brand’s e-newsletters, which reach more than 1.4 million subscribers each month. A former two-time intern, he also helps keep GOLF.com humming outside the news-breaking stories and service content provided by our reporters and writers, and works with the tech team in the development of new products and innovative ways to deliver an engaging site to our audience.

Related Articles

Harold varner sinks ridiculous, walk-off eagle putt to win saudi international, harold varner iii takes the lead at saudi international with one round remaining, ‘he’s 14 years old. let that sink in. 14’ meet the kid who’s beating pros at the saudi international, defending champ dustin johnson 3 off lead after round 1 of saudi international, 'game of poker': at saudi international, players talk threat of rival golf leagues, how the saudi international field stacks up to the at&t pebble beach pro-am, bryson dechambeau dishes on low point, greens books, why he's not in netflix series, pga tour grants saudi international exemptions ... with strings attached, dustin johnson wins saudi international and what else you missed in the final round.

  • International edition
  • Australia edition
  • Europe edition

Justin Rose’s reasons for playing in Saudi Arabia are not good enough

European Tour makes a serious bogey in visiting Saudi Arabia

Ewan Murray

Golf penalises players for scorecard errors, yet is going cap in hand to a regime with an appalling human rights record

G olf’s obsession with irrelevance was in evidence again on Sunday. That Li Haotong’s caddie was adjudged to have assisted the player with the lining up of a putt in the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic cost the defending champion by way of a two-stroke penalty . Commentators, players and caddies blasted this marginal call, rendered possible by recent amendments to the rules of golf. Muirfield’s members had fresh meat to titter about over Monday gins.

By Monday afternoon, the European Tour and the R&A were at odds regarding the implementation of said rule. Keith Pelley, the Tour’s chief executive, bemoaned the lack of discretion available to his referees . Sceptics may suggest Pelley was seeking to create controversy where one does not exist in the hope of creating a handy diversion.

Pelley had earlier appeared on television in the US attempting to do something which is never wise; defending the indefensible. If Pelley’s willingness to cut a deal to host a tour event in Saudi Arabia caused minor ripples when announced last year, subsequent events and the fact this tournament begins on Thursday has thrust a reputational own goal firmly back into the spotlight. Suffice to say the R&A, which many feel allowed gender discrimination to prevail on its watch for centuries , has kept out of this one.

Recurring horrors in relation to Saudi Arabia and human rights barely need revisiting. The CIA’s claim in November that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, most likely ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi added a further layer of negativity – to put it mildly – that the European Tour could have done without. There have also been reports of the torture and sexual harassment of women’s rights activists in Saudi detention centres.

As it attempts to show the world it is actually a misunderstood utopia, Saudi Arabia turned towards the world’s leading golfers; and found a depressingly willing audience.

Four of the world’s top five are scheduled to tee up in Saudi. That comes with hefty reward; Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka et al are being richly compensated by way of appearance fees for just turning up. Low-ranked players might feel a necessity to play as they battle to maintain status. Paul Casey made it clear last week that he would not travel on human rights grounds – a view shared by plenty of others who have opted to keep counsel.

“You have to look at the entire Middle East region,” Pelley said. “We have an excellent relationship with the Middle East and it’s very important; why it’s important is we can’t play anywhere in Europe at this time of year. Saudi is just an extension of the Middle East strategy.

“The European Tour is one of many global companies who operate in Saudi Arabia. We understand their goal to make parts of the country more accessible to global business, tourism and leisure over the next decade.”

Chief executive Keith Pelley has defended the decision

If not so serious, this would of course be hilarious. Here is a sporting body which penalises competitors for making an error with a scorecard yet thinks it reasonable to go cap in hand to a regime which, according to Amnesty International, oversaw the execution of 146 people in 2017.

What Pelley understandably fails to mention in regards to Saudi Arabia is commercial necessity as his tour falls further and further behind its US equivalent. But must that arrive at all costs?

To his credit, the Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee highlighted the Tour’s woefully bad call.

“I cannot imagine what economic incentive it would take to get me to go to a place that is so egregiously on the wrong side of human rights,” he said. “I don’t think they fully understand what they are doing.

“I don’t understand it from an economic point of view, I don’t understand it from a business point of view and I don’t understand it from a moral point of view. They are legitimising and enriching the rulers of this regime. I won’t even watch it on the TV. They should not be there. By participating, they are ventriloquists for this abhorrent, reprehensible regime.”

Rose shrugged off such a notion. “I’m not a politician, I’m a pro golfer,” the Englishman said. “There are other reasons to go play it. It’s a good field, there’s going to be a lot of world ranking points to play for, by all accounts it’s a good golf course.”

Rose’s explanation isn’t good enough, not least for someone so intelligent. When adding that he looked forward to “experiencing” Saudi Arabia, he should have contemplated what that has meant for so many others . Golfers readily skip events for all manner of trivialities. The problem is many of those around them rarely have the gumption to point out how poor scenarios may look in the real world. Commercial deals for players have spin-offs for managers, of course.

The next time football or rugby is urged to view the world through golf’s lofty prism, the retort should be straightforward. The next time golf preaches about a genuine desire to be inclusive and diverse, we are entitled to burst out laughing. Quests for the moral high ground in sport are infamously tricky but this represents an extremity the European Tour should have readily avoided.

  • European Tour
  • Saudi Arabia

Most viewed

Golfers, European Tour catching heat for Saudi Arabia tournament

european tour saudi arabia

  • Earned Evans Scholarship to attend Indiana University

Copy Link

The European Tour and players who are participating in this week's inaugural Saudi International golf tournament have received criticism in the wake of the decision to go ahead with the event despite the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi this past fall.

The Washington Post writer, who was living in the United States at the time, was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in September, Turkish officials said.

The event, announced last year, was considered controversial even before the slaying because of Saudi Arabia's reported human rights abuses.

"I'm not a politician, I'm a pro golfer," said No. 1-ranked Justin Rose after his victory Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open. "There's other reasons to go play it. It's a good field, there's going to be a lot of world ranking points to play for. By all accounts, it's a good golf course and it will be an experience to experience Saudi Arabia."

Rose and several other top players -- including Brooks Koepka , Dustin Johnson , Bryson DeChambeau , Patrick Reed , Sergio Garcia , Henrik Stenson , Thomas Bjorn and Lee Westwood -- committed to the tournament in part because of lucrative appearance fees the European Tour allows.

England's Paul Casey , who was originally offered a spot in the tournament, released a statement last week stating that he had never signed a contract and that he declined to play because of his work with UNICEF.

The tour chose to play in Saudi Arabia because of its presence this time of year in the Middle East and its quest to add lucrative events to the schedule. Tournaments in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have already taken place this year, with later visits scheduled for Oman and Qatar. The season-ending event is also in Dubai.

"We have an excellent relationship with the Middle East, and it's very important," European Tour CEO Keith Pelley told Golf Channel. "We can't play anywhere in Europe this time of year. The Middle East becomes very important to us, from a climate perspective, to the ease of travel, to the quality of golf courses."

Pelley also said that his main concern was "the safety and concern of our players and staff" and that "like many global companies who operate in the region," the tour had done due diligence.

It wasn't ease of travel for Rose and Reed, who left San Diego on Sunday on a lengthy journey across 11 time zones. Reed will then leave Saudi Arabia and make the return trip back to California for next week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. As the reigning Masters champion, Reed could command a seven-figure appearance fee.

"Obviously, that was a concern with our team," Johnson, who played two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi, recently told The Associated Press. "I'm going over there to play a sport I'm paid to play. It's my job to play golf. Unfortunately, it's in a part of the world where most people don't agree with what happened, and I definitely don't support anything like that. I'm going to play golf, not support them. I'm not a politician. I play golf."

For years, golf tournaments have been played in countries whose policies don't necessarily align with those in the West. The European Tour has been going to Dubai since 1989. It also plays an annual event in Turkey. Along with the PGA Tour, the European Tour co-sanctions a World Golf Championship in China. The PGA Tour has a developmental tour in China called PGA Tour China.

The $3.5 million tournament is being underwritten by the Saudi government to help promote the country.

"The problem with taking a moral approach to us golfers playing in Saudi Arabia this week is that it would lay bare many contradictions of the past," Eddie Pepperell wrote in a blog post Tuesday. "Like, for example, why do we play in China? Or Qatar? Or Turkey? Depending on your time scale, you could argue that every country on earth has at some point exemplified the worst that human beings have to offer, but back to 2019. It clearly is true that Saudi Arabia's human rights record is questionable at best, and appalling to anyone in the West. But should that mean we boycott competing?"

Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee , a former PGA Tour player, has also been vocal about the matter.

"To turn a blind eye to the butchering of a media member in some way euphemizes the egregious human atrocities that not only took place with Jamal Khashoggi but that go on there all the time," Chamblee said Sunday during a segment on the topic. "... Politically, I get why you have to capitulate to Saudi Arabia -- and maybe from a business standpoint, even -- but a more definitive personal rebuke can be shown to the PR stunt of this regime, which is really trying to hoodwink the West -- that's all they are trying to do here -- by refusing to participate.

"Your participation in some way enriches this regime, and by nonparticipation of the athletes in general, you can in some marginal way -- and I applaud Paul Casey -- make a statement about human rights."

  • Transfer Centre
  • Live on Sky
  • Get Sky Sports
  • Kick It Out
  • Black Lives Matter
  • British South Asians in Football
  • Work @ Sky Sports
  • Terms & Conditions

Ladies European Tour: Lydia Ko claims one-shot victory at Aramco Saudi Ladies International

Aditi Ashok extends advantage at the top of the 2023 Race to Costa del Sol rankings by finishing second and a shot behind Lydia Ko; Lexi Thompson one of three players sharing third spot in Saudi Arabia

Sunday 19 February 2023 16:18, UK

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Vu Thumbnail Saudi

World No 1 Lydia Ko fired a final-round 68 to secure a one-shot victory and second Aramco Saudi Ladies International title.

The New Zealander began Sunday a shot off the lead at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, having carded rounds of 64, 69 and 66 over the first three days, with Ko cancelling out an opening-hole birdie with a dropped shot at the par-four next.

Ko birdied the sixth and 10th before taking advantage of the par-five 13th, with a 12-foot birdie at the 17th moving her to 21-under and giving her the solo lead for the first time of the final day.

  • Saudi Ladies International: Final scores
  • Ladies European Tour: Latest headlines
Lydia Ko is heading to the 18th tee with a one shot lead. #RaiseOurGame | #AramcoSaudiLadiesIntl pic.twitter.com/G4YV6Tem1C — Ladies European Tour (@LETgolf) February 19, 2023

A closing par at the par-five 18th completed Ko's victory, with Magical Kenya Ladies Open winner Aditi Ashok a shot back in second after also carding a four-under 68 on the final day.

"I'm two for two on this golf course," Ko said. "Clearly something is going for me! I don't think I was setting myself up for a lot of birdie opportunities on the front nine, but I knew that every hole could be a birdie opportunity, so it was that mindset and I wanted to be aggressive.

  • Transfer Centre! Benzema, Gallagher, Nusa latest
  • Papers: Liverpool impressed by Fulham's Tosin
  • Man Utd deal with Rashford 'internal disciplinary matter'
  • PL Predictions: Villa should be too strong for timid Toon
  • Merson Says: Klopp exit shocked me but great if Liverpool now won PL
  • Brentford's £25m deal for Spurs target Nusa stalling
  • PL returns: Lift-off for Martinelli? Villa to claim Newcastle revenge?
  • Murray storms off after controversial defeat to Paire in Montpellier
  • Premier League transfers: Club by club
  • Smith suffers injury scare ahead of England's Six Nations opener
  • Latest News

Overnight leader Lilia Vu required a final-hole birdie to force a play-off but ended up bogeying the closing par-five and posting a final-round 71, with Lexi Thompson and Manon De Roey also finishing two strokes back in tied-third.

Thompson birdied six of her opening 10 holes on her way to a six-under 66, while De Roey charged up the leaderboard on the final day with a round-of-the-day 63.

Saudi Ladies International scores

Ladies European Tour headlines

Full Ladies European Tour schedule

When is golf live on Sky Sports?

Lexi Thompson looks at her put line on the ninth green during the LPGA The Ascendant golf tournament in The Colony, Texas, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

"Today, I was very solid throughout my whole game actually," De Roey said. "I think I only had one bad shot. Very happy to finish with a birdie and to have a good start to the LET season to build some confidence for the rest of the year."

Denmark's Emily Kristine Pedersen finished in outright sixth place on 17-under-par with England's Georgia Hall one shot behind in seventh.

LPGA Tour Golf

Sky Sports

Japan's Nasa Hataoka was in eighth place on 15-under while Korea's Hae Ran Ryu and Switzerland's Albane Valenzuela rounded out the top 10.

What's next?

The Ladies European Tour season heads to South Africa for back-to-back events, with the Joburg Ladies Open taking place at Modderfontein Golf Club from March 1-4 ahead of the Invester South African Women's Open at Steenberg Golf Club the following week.

Get Sky Sports

  • Upgrade Now

How to watch Premier League, EFL, AFCON, WSL, tennis, darts and more

  • Stream with NOW
  • CBSSports.com
  • Fanatics Sportsbook
  • CBS Sports Home
  • Champions League
  • Motor Sports
  • High School
  • Horse Racing 

180x100-pro-pickem-tile.png

Football Pick'em

180x100-college-pickem-tile.png

College Pick'em

Fantasy baseball, fantasy football, fantasy basketball, fantasy hockey, franchise games, 24/7 sports news network.

cbs-sports-hq-watch-dropdown.jpg

  • CBS Sports Golazo Network
  • PGA Tour on CBS
  • College Basketball on CBS
  • UEFA Champions League
  • UEFA Europa League
  • Italian Serie A
  • Watch CBS Sports Network
  • TV Shows & Listings

The Early Edge

201120-early-edge-logo-square.jpg

A Daily SportsLine Betting Podcast

pick-six.png

NFL Playoff Time!

  • Podcasts Home
  • Eye On College Basketball
  • The First Cut Golf
  • NFL Pick Six
  • Cover 3 College Football
  • Fantasy Football Today
  • Morning Kombat
  • My Teams Organize / See All Teams Help Account Settings Log Out

Golfers, European Tour facing tough questions ahead of controversial event in Saudi Arabia

The implications of heading to such a controversial place could reverberate.

rose-1-29-19.png

There is no great way to put this: This week's Saudi International on the European Tour has already been a bit of a mess and is creating plenty of controversy as golfers are being pressured to pull out of the event. The reason is obvious as journalist Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, last October, the fallout from which has reverberated globally. 

In November, the Washington Post reported that the CIA had concluded that Khashoggi's murder was "ordered" by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. This came on top of all the other questionable human rights issues in the country  in recent years.

Around that time, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal canceled a $2 million match in Saudi Arabia but blamed it on a surgery Nadal had on his ankle. There are obviously innumerable tentacles to something like this, and no shortage of questions, which playing the actual golf tournament this week will not quell. 

Chief among them is whether bin Salman will show up at the event, a move that would cast even more sideways looks at the European Tour and the big-name players who remain committed to traveling overseas -- Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka among them -- for this inaugural event. (Tiger Woods, by the way, apparently turned down around $3 million to play this week .)

The European Tour hasn't backed down or wavered from its commitment to the Saudi International as part of its Middle East swing. At every turn, European Tour CEO Keith Pelley has swatted away suggestions that the tournament should or would be moved away from Saudi Arabia.

"We have an excellent relationship with the Middle East, and it's very important,"  Pelley told Golf Channel on Sunday . "Why it's important is we can't play anywhere in Europe this time of year. So the Middle East becomes very important to us."

That feels like a little bit of misdirection, and Pelley certainly bobbed and weaved his way through questions from Gary Williams of Golf Channel.

"Our main focus is on the safety and security of our players and staff," Pelley added . "Like many global companies who operate in Saudi Arabia on a daily basis, we monitored the situation. … Having looked at that -- and having done due diligence in terms of the safety and security -- we're now obviously moving forward and looking forward to this new chapter on the European Tour." 

He was asked point blank whether he considered moving the event or pulling out of Saudi Arabia.

"As I said, we, like everybody else and every other business continue to monitor the situation of all the events we play in, and we are looking forward to the next week and playing in the very first event in Saudi for the European Tour," said Pelley.

Talk about a non-answer.

As for the golfers attending the event, most of them have gone the way of world No. 1 Justin Rose and simply thrown their hands up in the air and abstained from delving into the messy, complicated politics of it all.

"I'm not a politician, I'm a pro golfer," said Rose on Sunday. "There's other reasons to go play it. It's a good field, there's going to be a lot of world ranking points to play for. By all accounts it's a good golf course and it will be an experience to experience Saudi Arabia."

Others have given more voice to the situation, though.

"As I continue to face questions about my participation, I feel it is important to clarify that I will not be playing in next week's Saudi International event," wrote Paul Casey on Instagram . "Plus contrary to reports I had also never signed a contract to play. I hope this addresses any confusion. Thank you."

"This week throws up a not new conundrum for us then, that competition supersedes morality," wrote Eddie Pepperell on his blog . "If I don't show up, the field doesn't reduce a spot, somebody takes it. With over 7 billion people in the world, our futures might give us all an opportunity to choose between morality and survival. This isn't to say morality isn't important and should never be acted upon, but it is to say that there's a reality to the world that while we might all dislike, still exists."

The entire event and how it's played out honestly raises more questions than answers, as you can see. Pepperell, Casey and Rose are three of over 100 players who have to figure how to solve a complex puzzle made of money, ambition and morality. The European Tour has put the ball in their hands (whether you agree with what they did or not), and now their greatest assets are going to have to produce answers in what figures to be a strange, melancholy week in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia.

Our Latest Golf Stories

koepka.jpg

2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am One and Done picks, field

Cbs sports staff • 4 min read.

koepka-file-friday.jpg

2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am picks, odds, predictions

Farmers Insurance Open - Final Round

Why are so many long shots winning on the PGA Tour?

Kyle porter • 4 min read.

Genesis Scottish Open - Day Two

Tyrrell Hatton latest to join LIV Golf, per report

Patrick mcdonald • 2 min read.

Farmers Insurance Open - Round Three

How to watch 2024 Farmers Insurance Open

Patrick mcdonald • 1 min read.

Sentry Tournament of Champions - Round One

Farmers Insurance Open: Hojgaard one back at halfway

Kyle porter • 3 min read.

european tour saudi arabia

Saudi International raises questions

european tour saudi arabia

Why so many long shots are winning on PGA Tour

european tour saudi arabia

Report: Tyrrell Hatton signs with LIV, will join Jon Rahm

european tour saudi arabia

Report: Anthony Kim could return to professional golf

european tour saudi arabia

Alabama star amaetur Nick Dunlap joins PGA Tour

european tour saudi arabia

McIlroy, Homa, Zhang, Thompson in The Match

european tour saudi arabia

Nick Dunlap withdraws from Farmers Insurance Open

european tour saudi arabia

Amateur Nick Dunlap makes history at American Express

european tour saudi arabia

Davis Love III enthused about golf's young stars

european tour saudi arabia

Johnny Damon: How I started loving golf

PGA Tour, European tour agree to merge with Saudis, end LIV Golf feud

Most players shocked, learned of news via social media.

Team champions David Puig, Sebastián Muñoz, Mito Pereira, Captain Joaquín Niemann of Torque GC and their caddies celebrate on stage with the team trophy during LIV Golf DC at the Trump National Golf Club in Washington Sunday, May 28, 2023, in Sterling, Virginia. The most disruptive year in golf ended Tuesday, June 6, 2023, when the PGA Tour and European tour agreed to a merger with Saudi Arabia's golf interests, creating a commercial operation designed to unify professional golf around the world.

The PGA Tour abruptly ended its expensive fight with Saudi Arabia’s golf venture and now is joining forces with it, making a stunning announcement Tuesday of a merger that creates a commercial operation with the Public Investment Fund and the European tour.

As part of the deal, the sides immediately are dropping all lawsuits involving LIV Golf.

From the golf side, still to be determined is how players like  Brooks Koepka  and  Dustin Johnson  can rejoin the PGA Tour after defecting last year for signing bonuses reported to be in the $150 million range.

From the commercial side, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund joins the PGA Tour board of directors and leads the new business venture as chairman, though the PGA Tour will have a majority stake.

News of the deal came as a surprise to  many watchers of the lawsuits and Saudi Arabia’s inroads  into U.S. politics, sports and culture.

Trending now

“This is a huge development and obviously upends a world of golf, which has been perhaps more tradition-bound in the past,” said Kristian Ulrichsen, a Middle East fellow at Houston’s Baker Institute.

Under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has made a point of seeking out investments, like LIV, where it could shake up existing industries, Ulrichsen said.

“That’s sort of one of their mantras, is to try to be disruptive and to take on the status quo,” he said. “And in this case, they seem to have succeeded.”

The announcement comes  a year after LIV Golf began .  PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan was at the Canadian Open  that week and said pointedly about any player who joined LIV or was thinking about it: “Have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?”

Now they are partners, giving Saudi Arabia a commercial voice in golf’s premier organization.

“I recognize everything I’ve said in the past. I recognize people will call me a hypocrite,” Monahan said in a conference call Tuesday evening. “Any time I’ve said anything, I’ve said it with the information I had, and I said it with someone trying to compete with our tour and our players.”

Most PGA Tour players were bewildered by the shocking turnaround. It didn’t help that a news outlet broke the embargoed announcement before Monahan could send a memo to the players. Most learned of the development on social media.

“I love finding out about morning news on Twitter,” two-time major champion Collin Morikawa  tweeted .

Many were not happy. Wesley Bryan  tweeted , “I feel betrayed, and will not … be able to trust anyone within the corporate structure of the PGA Tour for a very long time.”

Byeong Hun An added on  Twitter : “I’m guessing the liv teams were struggling to get sponsors and pga tour couldn’t turn down the money. Win-win for both tours but it’s a big lose for who defended the tour for last two years.”

“They were going down their path, we were going down ours, and after a lot of introspection you realize all this tension in the game is not a good thing,” Monahan said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.

“We have a responsibility to our tour and to the game, and we felt like the time was right to have that conversation.”

Monahan held a player meeting at the Canadian Open, though most top players are not there. He described the meeting as “intense, certainly heated.”

And while this likely will only lead to greater riches in golf, there still was explaining to do on why the tour would merge with a group that tried to take away some of the PGA Tour’s best players and was seen as the latest  example of “sportswashing.”

The deal was in the works for the last seven weeks, when Monahan first met with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Public Investment Fund. Players typically approve changes to the schedule and other competition matters. On this one, they were left out.

“No one had word of this,” Monahan said. “Our players expect us to operate in the best interests of the tour.”

Instead, he cited guidance from corporate members of the PGA Tour board.

Still, Monahan has his toughest work ahead of him.

He sought loyalty from his players against a league accused of taking part in sportswashing, an attempt by Saudi Arabia to shift focus away from its human rights abuses, such as the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Now the very group that posed such a threat is the commercial partner of the PGA Tour and European tour.

“The divisiveness is now over, and two years of disruption and distractions … is over and now we can concentrate on building our respective tours,” said Keith Pelley, CEO of the European tour. “And we are building it with PIF, who is clearly committed to the game.”

Along the way, PGA Tour players also got rich. The tour raised prize money at elite events to $20 million, the same purse for LIV’s individual competition. The 2024 schedule has been reshaped for roughly 16 tournaments like that.

Take the news everywhere you go.

“In the short term, I expect a lot of questions and criticism,” Monahan said. “In the long run, players who stayed with the PGA Tour will see they benefited in many ways.”

The agreement combines the Public Investment Fund’s golf-related commercial businesses and rights — including LIV Golf — with those of the PGA and European tours. The new entity has not been named.

Al-Rumayyan will join the board of the PGA Tour, which continues to operates its tournaments. The PIF will invest in the commercial venture.

“From the very beginning, the whole initiative was how to grow the game of golf,” Al-Rumayyan said. “And I think what was achieved today was exactly that.”

Augusta National and the Royal & Ancient welcomed the news because it ends a bitter feud. Augusta National said the deal “represents a positive development in bringing harmony to men’s professional golf.” R&A CEO Martin Slumbers said it would help golf “move forward in a collaborative, constructive and innovative fashion.”

As for the new role of Greg Norman, Al-Rumayyan said only that Norman is LIV Golf’s commissioner and details of his future role would be announced in the coming weeks.

Monahan’s memo to players indicated a strong Saudi Arabian presence. He said PIF would make a financial investment to become a “premier corporate sponsor” of the PGA Tour, the European tour and other international tours.

The PIF initially will be the exclusive investor in the new entity and will have the exclusive right to further invest, including a right of first refusal on any capital that may be invested.

Monahan said the merger came together the last seven weeks, with PGA Tour board member Jimmy Dunne responsible for bringing together Monahan and Al-Rumayyan. Dunne and Ed Herlihy, chairman of the PGA Tour’s board, will serve on the board of the commercial venture.

Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau were among 11 players who  filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour  last August.  LIV joined as plaintiffs , and the PGA Tour countersued.

The concern for PIF was whether its leaders could be deposed, which Saudi Arabia wanted to avoid. Being open to depositions would leave the kingdom’s leaders more vulnerable to legal action, including lawsuits demanding they reveal business deals in the United States.

A federal judge had ruled the PIF could not claim immunity from the Foreign Service Immunity Act because of its commercial work with LIV Golf in the U.S.

The PIF appealed the ruling to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which was likely to extend the lawsuit deep into 2024 if not longer.

Associated Press writer Ellen Knickmeyer in Washington and AP Sports Writer Steve Douglas in Stockholm contributed to this report.

Related Stories

  • Latest News
  • Emergencies
  • Ask the Law
  • Visa+Immigration
  • Phone+Internet
  • Reader Queries
  • Safety+Security
  • Banking & Insurance
  • Dubai Airshow
  • Corporate Tax
  • Top Destinations
  • Corporate News
  • Electronics
  • Home and Kitchen
  • Consumables
  • Saving and Investment
  • Budget Living
  • Expert Columns
  • Community Tips
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Cooking and Cuisines
  • Guide to Cooking
  • Art & People
  • Friday Partner
  • Daily Crossword
  • Word Search
  • Philippines
  • Australia-New Zealand
  • Corrections
  • From the Editors
  • Special Reports
  • Pregnancy & Baby
  • Learning & Play
  • Child Health
  • For Mums & Dads
  • UAE Success Stories
  • Live the Luxury
  • Culture and History
  • Staying Connected
  • Entertainment
  • Live Scores
  • Point Table
  • Top Scorers
  • Photos & Videos
  • Course Reviews
  • Learn to Play
  • South Indian
  • Arab Celebs
  • Health+Fitness
  • Gitex Global 2023
  • Best Of Bollywood
  • Special Features
  • Know Plan Go
  • Gratuity Calculator
  • Notifications
  • Prayer Times
  • Cinema Listing

A whole new experience on the Ladies European Tour in Saudi Arabia

Golf in uae, golf in uae world.

Dubai-based Kristyna Napoleaova set for Aramco Ladies Saudi International

Kristyna Napoleaova

I flew to Jeddah on Sunday and then were driven one hour or so to King Abdullah Economic City along with fellow Czech player Sideri Vanova, and my coach Jamie McConnell from the Els Club ahead of this week’s Aramco Ladies Saudi International.

Both Sideri and I have received an invite to play this week in Saudi for the second Ladies European Tour (LET) event on this year’s calendar, following the Kenya Ladies Open in February with a 300,000 euro purse. So, as you can see, this week’s $1 million on offer is a big jump for the 10-player field and we are all determined to do well for early Order of Merit points.

  • Qatar stretch lead at GCC Golf Championships in Abu Dhabi
  • UAE professional Ahmed Al Musharrekh to play three events in Cairo
  • Dubai hopefuls gear up for 2022 Qatar Masters
  • Abu Dhabi creating opportunities in UAE golf industry

At the airport on arrival we had a very warm welcome, which is always a great start to a week.

This is my first time in Saudi so I am looking forward to experiencing everything that people have told me about.

The players are all staying in The Views, with our own gym and with the course just 10 minutes away. It seems the players are being well looked after and we are a priority, which is a great feeling.

Everything so far is very well organised with all meals at the golf course in the players’ lounge overlooking the 18th green.

We teed off early in the morning for our practice rounds, on both Monday and Tuesday. The course exceeded my expectations and is in great condition.

The wind came up in the afternoons, which I understand is the norm here. I especially enjoyed the two signature holes, the par three 16th along the coast and the par five 18th, which when downwind I can carry the bunkers on the right. It is a real ‘risk and reward’ hole, the type I like.

On Wednesday, there is a Pro-Am, which is not on my schedule, so I will have to rely on just being on the range.

I needed to tidy up my game on Tuesday on the course, before Jamie left.

My first round on Thursday is at 8.38am from the 10th tee and I am playing with Maria Hernandez from Spain and my best friend Vanova.

I have a local caddie Zayd Alireza, who is a member of Royal Greens. It is interesting to see two Moroccans in the field getting plenty of media attention, Maha Haddioui and Ines Laklalech. Maha has been around for a few years and played golf on the LET and represented Morocco in the Olympics, but this is Ines’ first tournament as a professional.

Fellow Dubai-based player Chiara Noja of Germany will tee off at 7.54am on tee 10.

More From Golf-World

SPO_241015 GOLF HAWAII1-1705322116312

Murray’s playoff birdie delivers emotional victory

SPO_240108 GOLF WRAP1-1704716616168

It’s unreal, says Chris Kirk after PGA win

SPO_240101 GOLF1-1704113684668

PGA Tour working to extend deadline to finish merger

Copy of 135865-01-02-1702898717441

Tiger encouraged for comeback after knocking off rust

Tajikistan stun UAE on penalties to reach quarters

Tajikistan stun UAE on penalties to reach quarters

Jadeja and Rahul ruled out of England second Test

Jadeja and Rahul ruled out of England second Test

Waseem’s 87 steers MI Emirates to 8-wicket win

Waseem’s 87 steers MI Emirates to 8-wicket win

Rashid to miss Afghanistan’s first-ever Sri Lanka Test

Rashid to miss Afghanistan’s first-ever Sri Lanka Test

United survives FA Cup scare from Newport

United survives FA Cup scare from Newport

Pope and Hartley script England’s win against India

Pope and Hartley script England’s win against India

Bopanna becomes oldest man to attain world no.1 ranking, theekshana, sams lift sharjah warriors to 9-wicket win, uae's digital dirham debuts in cross-border payment, 'my head is bloody, but unbowed', says byju raveendran, mashreq bank posts record 2023 profit of dh8.6b.

Gulf News

Get Breaking News Alerts From Gulf News

We’ll send you latest news updates through the day. You can manage them any time by clicking on the notification icon.

european tour saudi arabia

Dear Reader,

This section is about Living in UAE and essential information you cannot live without.

Register to read and get full access to gulfnews.com

By clicking below to sign up, you're agreeing to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Forgot password

Cookie banner

We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targeted ads, analyze site traffic, and understand where our audiences come from. To learn more or opt-out, read our Cookie Policy . Please also read our Privacy Notice and Terms of Use , which became effective December 20, 2019.

By choosing I Accept , you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies.

Michelob Ultra

Follow Playing Through online:

  • Follow Playing Through on Twitter
  • Follow Playing Through on Instagram
  • Follow Playing Through on Facebook

Site search

  • Champions Tour
  • DP World Tour
  • Latest News

Filed under:

LPGA deal with LET tanked by Golf Saudi, player blasts LIV leadership

The LPGA and LET had agreed to come together for the betterment of the women’s game, but the Saudi’s squashed that idea.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement .

Share this story

  • Share this on Facebook
  • Share this on Twitter
  • Share this on Reddit
  • Share All sharing options

Share All sharing options for: LPGA deal with LET tanked by Golf Saudi, player blasts LIV leadership

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - Day Two, Yasir Al-Rummayan, Golf Saudi

Women’s professional golf was set for what was being called a ‘landmark change.’ The LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour (LET) had agreed to merge, injecting life into women’s golf overseas.

That has all come to a sudden halt.

Golf Saudi, a division of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund that bankrolls LIV Golf, has essentially blocked the proposed merger between tours, according to The Telegraph.

The Saudi PIF threatened to pull their $11 million in sponsorship for the Euro circuit and abandon seven events.

LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan confirmed Golf Saudi as the reason for the cooling of talks in a letter to players.

The Saudi’s submitted a “last-minute request for further information on the proposed operating model of the tour following any potential transaction.” Samaan wrote. “As a significant partner of the LET, Golf Saudi wanted to ensure that they fully understood any risks, implications, and opportunities for the Aramco Saudi Ladies International and Aramco Team Series.”

Aramco is currently the largest sponsor of the Ladies European Tour. The threat of losing those sponsor dollars was too great to move forward with negotiations as the merger vote is “now postponed indefinitely.”

UK Prime Minister and Business Leaders Unite For The Global Investment Summit, Yasir Al-Rummayan

A leading Euro Tour player, preferring to remain anonymous, shared her thoughts and held nothing back.

“The reality is they obviously just threatened to pull all their events and money if the merger went ahead. So they blew the whole thing up just because they could. The one thing we don’t understand is why a LET/LPGA merger hurts whatever it is that PIF wants.

“Is it connected to the merger between them and the male Tours and PIF highlighting that it is in control? If it is, this is just another case of us, the little guys, being expendable as the billionaires play their power games.”

This could be a fatal blow to the floundering LET, as a deal with the LPGA was all but imminent. One of the greatest players of all time, Annika Sorenstam , called the pending union “beneficial to everyone.”

Sadly, the women’s game will hit a roadblock to growth thanks in large part to Golf Saudi. Should we really be surprised by that though?

Kendall Capps is the Senior Editor of SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social media platforms.

Next Up In Golf

  • PGA Tour landing $3B SSG investment; puts LIV Golf, Saudi deal on shaky ground
  • Tyrell Hatton quits PGA Tour for $63 million to join Jon Rahm, LIV Golf
  • Tyrell Hatton’s move to LIV Golf produces hilarious yet honest reactions
  • Nelly Korda nearly sends Jessica into labor with wild LPGA Drive On Championship finish
  • Lydia Ko reveals how she blew shot at Nelly Korda, LPGA Drive On Championship
  • Nelly Korda stuns Lydia Ko with insane LPGA Drive On Championship finish

Loading comments...

PGA Tour and European tour agree to merge with Saudis and end LIV Golf feud

FILE - Team champions David Puig, Sebastián Muñoz, Mito Pereira, Captain Joaquín Niemann of...

(AP) – The PGA Tour abruptly dropped its expensive fight with Saudi Arabia’s LIV Golf venture on Tuesday and instead announced a stunning merger that creates a global operation featuring the world’s top players backed by the Saudis’ massive wealth.

As part of the deal merging the PGA Tour and European tour with Saudi Arabia’s golf interests, the sides immediately are dropping all lawsuits involving LIV Golf.

From the golf side, still to be determined is how players like Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson can rejoin the PGA Tour after defecting last year for signing bonuses reported to be in the $150 million range.

From the commercial side, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund joins the PGA Tour board of directors and leads the new business venture as chairman, though the PGA Tour will have a majority stake.

News of the deal came as a surprise to many watchers of the lawsuits and Saudi Arabia’s inroads into U.S. politics, sports and culture.

“This is a huge development and obviously upends a world of golf, which has been perhaps more tradition-bound in the past,” said Kristian Ulrichsen, a Middle East fellow at Houston’s Baker Institute.

Under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has made a point of seeking out investments, like LIV, where it could shake up existing industries, Ulrichsen said.

“That’s sort of one of their mantras, is to try to be disruptive and to take on the status quo,” he said. “And in this case, they seem to have succeeded.”

The announcement comes a year after LIV Golf began. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan was at the Canadian Open that week and said pointedly about any player who joined LIV or was thinking about it: “Have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?”

Now they are partners, giving Saudi Arabia a commercial voice in golf’s premier organization.

“I recognize everything I’ve said in the past. I recognize people will call me a hypocrite,” Monahan said in a conference call Tuesday evening. “Any time I’ve said anything, I’ve said it with the information I had, and I said it with someone trying to compete with our tour and our players.”

Most PGA Tour players were bewildered by the shocking turnaround. It didn’t help that a news outlet broke the embargoed announcement before Monahan could send a memo to the players. Most learned of the development on social media.

“I love finding out about morning news on Twitter,” two-time major champion Collin Morikawa tweeted.

Many were not happy. Wesley Bryan tweeted, “I feel betrayed, and will not ... be able to trust anyone within the corporate structure of the PGA Tour for a very long time.”

Byeong Hun An added on Twitter: “I’m guessing the liv teams were struggling to get sponsors and pga tour couldn’t turn down the money. Win-win for both tours but it’s a big lose for who defended the tour for last two years.”

“They were going down their path, we were going down ours, and after a lot of introspection you realize all this tension in the game is not a good thing,” Monahan said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.

“We have a responsibility to our tour and to the game, and we felt like the time was right to have that conversation.”

Monahan held a player meeting at the Canadian Open, though most top players are not there. He described the meeting as “intense, certainly heated.”

And while this likely will only lead to greater riches in golf, there still was explaining to do on why the tour would merge with a group that tried to take away some of the PGA Tour’s best players and was seen as the latest example of “sportswashing.”

The deal was in the works for the last seven weeks, when Monahan first met with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Public Investment Fund. Players typically approve changes to the schedule and other competition matters. On this one, they were left out.

“No one had word of this,” Monahan said. “Our players expect us to operate in the best interests of the tour.”

Instead, he cited guidance from corporate members of the PGA Tour board.

Still, Monahan has his toughest work ahead of him.

He sought loyalty from his players against a league accused of taking part in sportswashing, an attempt by Saudi Arabia to shift focus away from its human rights abuses, such as the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Now the very group that posed such a threat is the commercial partner of the PGA Tour and European tour.

“The divisiveness is now over, and two years of disruption and distractions ... is over and now we can concentrate on building our respective tours,” said Keith Pelley, CEO of the European tour. “And we are building it with PIF, who is clearly committed to the game.”

Along the way, PGA Tour players also got rich. The tour raised prize money at elite events to $20 million, the same purse for LIV’s individual competition. The 2024 schedule has been reshaped for roughly 16 tournaments like that.

“In the short term, I expect a lot of questions and criticism,” Monahan said. “In the long run, players who stayed with the PGA Tour will see they benefited in many ways.”

The agreement combines the Public Investment Fund’s golf-related commercial businesses and rights — including LIV Golf — with those of the PGA and European tours. The new entity has not been named.

Al-Rumayyan will join the board of the PGA Tour, which continues to operates its tournaments. The PIF will invest in the commercial venture.

“From the very beginning, the whole initiative was how to grow the game of golf,” Al-Rumayyan said. “And I think what was achieved today was exactly that.”

Augusta National and the Royal & Ancient welcomed the news because it ends a bitter feud. Augusta National said the deal “represents a positive development in bringing harmony to men’s professional golf.” R&A CEO Martin Slumbers said it would help golf “move forward in a collaborative, constructive and innovative fashion.”

As for the new role of Greg Norman, Al-Rumayyan said only that Norman is LIV Golf’s commissioner and details of his future role would be announced in the coming weeks.

Monahan’s memo to players indicated a strong Saudi Arabian presence. He said PIF would make a financial investment to become a “premier corporate sponsor” of the PGA Tour, the European tour and other international tours.

The PIF initially will be the exclusive investor in the new entity and will have the exclusive right to further invest, including a right of first refusal on any capital that may be invested.

Al-Rumayyan has been spotted wearing a “MAGA” hat during LIV events at courses owned by former President Donald Trump.

Trump predicted last July that a merger was inevitable and said anyone not signing with the Saudi league would be losing out. He weighed in Tuesday and called it a “glamorous deal for the wonderful world of golf.”

Monahan said the merger came together the last seven weeks, with PGA Tour board member Jimmy Dunne responsible for bringing together Monahan and Al-Rumayyan. Dunne and Ed Herlihy, chairman of the PGA Tour’s board, will serve on the board of the commercial venture.

Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau were among 11 players who filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour last August. LIV joined as plaintiffs, and the PGA Tour countersued.

The concern for PIF was whether its leaders could be deposed, which Saudi Arabia wanted to avoid. Being open to depositions would leave the kingdom’s leaders more vulnerable to legal action, including lawsuits demanding they reveal business deals in the United States.

A federal judge had ruled the PIF could not claim immunity from the Foreign Service Immunity Act because of its commercial work with LIV Golf in the U.S.

The PIF appealed the ruling to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which was likely to extend the lawsuit deep into 2024 if not longer.

Associated Press writer Ellen Knickmeyer in Washington and AP Sports Writer Steve Douglas in Stockholm contributed to this report.

AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Dana Nessel

Attorney General Nessel files lawsuit against Mississippi dropshipping company

european tour saudi arabia

Woman drives car into pond at Lansing apartment complex

european tour saudi arabia

Gov. Whitmer encouraging families to claim tax credit

european tour saudi arabia

Lions see 17 point halftime lead evaporate in 34-31 loss to the 49ers in NFC Championship Game

Decatur Schools previously said it would give cheese sandwiches to students with excessive...

Possible end to cheese sandwich policy: Arby’s Foundation pays off school district’s lunch debt

Latest news.

Satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC shows a military base known as Tower 22 in northeastern...

Enemy drone that killed US troops in Jordan was mistaken for a US drone, preliminary report suggests

Alonzo Pierre Mingo was charged with three counts of second-degree murder for Friday's killings.

Police say man dressed as delivery driver in home invasion turned triple homicide

Former Michigan football strength coach leaves for the Chargers

Former Michigan strength coach, Ben Herbert, follows Jim Harbaugh to the NFL

Biden Admin responds to fatal drone strikes

Biden Admin responds to fatal drone strikes

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland speaks during a news conference where he and Associate...

Attorney General Merrick Garland to undergo surgery, Justice Department says

Saudi International logo new

30 - 02 Feb 2020

Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers

Royal greens g&cc, king abdullah economic city, saudi arabia.

Saudi International

Course Card

DP World Tour Partners

1 BMW_Grey-Colour_RGB

Sports | PGA Tour and European tour agree to merge with…

Share this:.

  • Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)
  • Click to print (Opens in new window)
  • Boston Red Sox
  • New England Patriots
  • Boston Celtics
  • Boston Bruins
  • High School

Sports | PGA Tour and European tour agree to merge with Saudis and end LIV Golf feud

european tour saudi arabia

By DOUG FERGUSON (AP Golf Writer)

The PGA Tour abruptly dropped its expensive fight with Saudi Arabia’s LIV Golf venture on Tuesday and instead announced a stunning merger that creates a global operation featuring the world’s top players backed by the Saudis’ massive wealth.

As part of the deal merging the PGA Tour and European tour with Saudi Arabia’s golf interests, the sides immediately are dropping all lawsuits involving LIV Golf.

From the golf side, still to be determined is how players like Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson can rejoin the PGA Tour after defecting last year for signing bonuses reported to be in the $150 million range.

From the commercial side, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund joins the PGA Tour board of directors and leads the new business venture as chairman, though the PGA Tour will have a majority stake.

News of the deal came as a surprise to many watchers of the lawsuits and Saudi Arabia’s inroads into U.S. politics, sports and culture.

“This is a huge development and obviously upends a world of golf, which has been perhaps more tradition-bound in the past,” said Kristian Ulrichsen, a Middle East fellow at Houston’s Baker Institute.

Under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has made a point of seeking out investments, like LIV, where it could shake up existing industries, Ulrichsen said.

“That’s sort of one of their mantras, is to try to be disruptive and to take on the status quo,” he said. “And in this case, they seem to have succeeded.”

The announcement comes a year after LIV Golf began. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan was at the Canadian Open that week and said pointedly about any player who joined LIV or was thinking about it: “Have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?”

Now they are partners, giving Saudi Arabia a commercial voice in golf’s premier organization.

“I recognize everything I’ve said in the past. I recognize people will call me a hypocrite,” Monahan said in a conference call Tuesday evening. “Any time I’ve said anything, I’ve said it with the information I had, and I said it with someone trying to compete with our tour and our players.”

Most PGA Tour players were bewildered by the shocking turnaround. It didn’t help that a news outlet broke the embargoed announcement before Monahan could send a memo to the players. Most learned of the development on social media.

“I love finding out about morning news on Twitter,” two-time major champion Collin Morikawa tweeted.

Many were not happy. Wesley Bryan tweeted, “I feel betrayed, and will not … be able to trust anyone within the corporate structure of the PGA Tour for a very long time.”

Byeong Hun An added on Twitter: “I’m guessing the liv teams were struggling to get sponsors and pga tour couldn’t turn down the money. Win-win for both tours but it’s a big lose for who defended the tour for last two years.”

“They were going down their path, we were going down ours, and after a lot of introspection you realize all this tension in the game is not a good thing,” Monahan said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.

“We have a responsibility to our tour and to the game, and we felt like the time was right to have that conversation.”

Monahan held a player meeting at the Canadian Open, though most top players are not there. He described the meeting as “intense, certainly heated.”

And while this likely will only lead to greater riches in golf, there still was explaining to do on why the tour would merge with a group that tried to take away some of the PGA Tour’s best players and was seen as the latest example of “sportswashing.”

The deal was in the works for the last seven weeks, when Monahan first met with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Public Investment Fund. Players typically approve changes to the schedule and other competition matters. On this one, they were left out.

“No one had word of this,” Monahan said. “Our players expect us to operate in the best interests of the tour.”

Instead, he cited guidance from corporate members of the PGA Tour board.

Still, Monahan has his toughest work ahead of him.

He sought loyalty from his players against a league accused of taking part in sportswashing, an attempt by Saudi Arabia to shift focus away from its human rights abuses, such as the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Now the very group that posed such a threat is the commercial partner of the PGA Tour and European tour.

“The divisiveness is now over, and two years of disruption and distractions … is over and now we can concentrate on building our respective tours,” said Keith Pelley, CEO of the European tour. “And we are building it with PIF, who is clearly committed to the game.”

Along the way, PGA Tour players also got rich. The tour raised prize money at elite events to $20 million, the same purse for LIV’s individual competition. The 2024 schedule has been reshaped for roughly 16 tournaments like that.

“In the short term, I expect a lot of questions and criticism,” Monahan said. “In the long run, players who stayed with the PGA Tour will see they benefited in many ways.”

The agreement combines the Public Investment Fund’s golf-related commercial businesses and rights — including LIV Golf — with those of the PGA and European tours. The new entity has not been named.

Al-Rumayyan will join the board of the PGA Tour, which continues to operates its tournaments. The PIF will invest in the commercial venture.

“From the very beginning, the whole initiative was how to grow the game of golf,” Al-Rumayyan said. “And I think what was achieved today was exactly that.”

Augusta National and the Royal & Ancient welcomed the news because it ends a bitter feud. Augusta National said the deal “represents a positive development in bringing harmony to men’s professional golf.” R&A CEO Martin Slumbers said it would help golf “move forward in a collaborative, constructive and innovative fashion.”

As for the new role of Greg Norman, Al-Rumayyan said only that Norman is LIV Golf’s commissioner and details of his future role would be announced in the coming weeks.

Monahan’s memo to players indicated a strong Saudi Arabian presence. He said PIF would make a financial investment to become a “premier corporate sponsor” of the PGA Tour, the European tour and other international tours.

The PIF initially will be the exclusive investor in the new entity and will have the exclusive right to further invest, including a right of first refusal on any capital that may be invested.

Al-Rumayyan has been spotted wearing a “MAGA” hat during LIV events at courses owned by former President Donald Trump.

Trump predicted last July that a merger was inevitable and said anyone not signing with the Saudi league would be losing out. He weighed in Tuesday and called it a “glamorous deal for the wonderful world of golf.”

Monahan said the merger came together the last seven weeks, with PGA Tour board member Jimmy Dunne responsible for bringing together Monahan and Al-Rumayyan. Dunne and Ed Herlihy, chairman of the PGA Tour’s board, will serve on the board of the commercial venture.

Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau were among 11 players who filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour last August. LIV joined as plaintiffs, and the PGA Tour countersued.

The concern for PIF was whether its leaders could be deposed, which Saudi Arabia wanted to avoid. Being open to depositions would leave the kingdom’s leaders more vulnerable to legal action, including lawsuits demanding they reveal business deals in the United States.

A federal judge had ruled the PIF could not claim immunity from the Foreign Service Immunity Act because of its commercial work with LIV Golf in the U.S.

The PIF appealed the ruling to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which was likely to extend the lawsuit deep into 2024 if not longer.

Associated Press writer Ellen Knickmeyer in Washington and AP Sports Writer Steve Douglas in Stockholm contributed to this report.

AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

More in Sports

Will the Red Sox try to mimic the Braves and extend young stars like Triston Casas before they get too expensive? How will the Red Sox honor Tim Wakefield in 2024? These are Gabrielle Starr's 7 baseball questions to ponder this week.

Boston Red Sox | Starr’s 7 Questions: When will Red Sox begin paying their young core?

Ed Burns Coffee Pot: Marshfield hangs on vs. No. 3 Arlington

High School Sports | Ed Burns Coffee Pot: Marshfield hangs on vs. No. 3 Arlington

MSTCA Small Schools Meet: Norwell makes noise

High School Sports | MSTCA Small Schools Meet: Norwell makes noise

Ed Burns Coffee Pot - Brinn Division: Norwood introduces itself

High School Sports | Ed Burns Coffee Pot – Brinn Division: Norwood introduces itself

  • Skip to Navigation
  • Skip to Main Content
  • Skip to Related Content
  • Today's news
  • Climate change
  • My portfolio
  • My watchlist
  • Stock market
  • Biden economy
  • Personal finance
  • Stocks: most actives
  • Stocks: gainers
  • Stocks: losers
  • Trending tickers
  • World indices
  • US Treasury bonds
  • Top mutual funds
  • Highest open interest
  • Highest implied volatility
  • Currency converter
  • Basic materials
  • Communication services
  • Consumer cyclical
  • Consumer defensive
  • Financial services
  • Industrials
  • Real estate
  • Mutual funds
  • Credit card rates
  • Balance transfer credit cards
  • Business credit cards
  • Cash back credit cards
  • Rewards credit cards
  • Travel credit cards
  • Checking accounts
  • Online checking accounts
  • High-yield savings accounts
  • Money market accounts
  • Personal loans
  • Student loans
  • Car insurance
  • Home buying
  • Options pit
  • Investment ideas
  • Research reports
  • Fantasy football
  • Pro Pick 'Em
  • College Pick 'Em
  • Fantasy baseball
  • Fantasy hockey
  • Fantasy basketball
  • Download the app
  • Daily Fantasy
  • Scores and schedules
  • GameChannel
  • World Baseball Classic
  • Premier League
  • CONCACAF League
  • Champions League
  • College football
  • Horse racing
  • Newsletters

Entertainment

  • How To Watch
  • Fall allergies
  • Health news
  • Mental health
  • Sexual health
  • Family health
  • So mini ways
  • Style and beauty
  • Unapologetically
  • Buying guides
  • Privacy Dashboard

european tour saudi arabia

  • Yahoo Sports AM
  • Australian Open
  • Fantasy Sports
  • Motorsports
  • Horse Racing
  • Leaderboard

Golf Saudi blocks Ladies European Tour merger with LPGA Tour

Golf Saudi effectively blocked a merger between the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour, which had been heralded as a “landmark change” for the beleaguered European circuit.

The thinly-veiled threat to pull out as the biggest LET sponsors, and to abandon the seven events – with a combined total of $11 million – that had already been inked on this year’s schedule, essentially forced the abandonment of the historic ballot on November 21 and the ultimate shelving of the grand plan.

Golf Saudi, which is a division of the Public Investment Fund that bankrolls LIV Golf , insisted on analysing the effects of the marriage before confirming its funding for 2024 – and that was too big a risk for the LET, regardless of the benefits of the merger.

Many will see the influence of Yasir Al-Rumayyan at play. The Golf Saudi chairman is also the chairman of LIV and of Newcastle United and as the PIF governor is key to the current merger negotiations of the £600 billion sovereign wealth fund with the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.

It is ironic in many respects that PIF has blocked one golfing merger while in the midst of trying to secure another and at the very least it shows the power the Saudis exert in the professional game.

It is a seismic blow for the LET, which must now wonder if the merger it has craved will ever occur.  A vote of the LET members near the end of last year to join forces with their cash-rich US counterparts had been considered a mere formality, particularly as the deal was to include the long-desired access from the LET on to the female game’s most illustrious Tour.

Annika Sorenstam, Sweden ’s 10-time major winner, called the planned amalgamation “beneficial to everyone” while Iona Stephen, the former LET pro turned Sky Sports presenter, said it was “music to my ears”.

And noting that the LET would have struggled to survive through Covid without a joint venture agreed with the LPGA Tour in 2019, the R&A welcomed what had seemed an impending tying of the knot.

Yet at the 11th hour, the meeting was shockingly adjourned, with LET officials citing “additional information”. That vague reason inevitably caused confusion and no small measure of panic among the European pros.

They eventually received an explanation from LET head office earlier this month. Telegraph Sport has obtained a copy of the memo from LET chair Marta Figueras-Dotti.

Golf Saudi, had, at the last minute, “requested further further information on the proposed operating model of the Tour” after the merger. “Their noted interest was to ensure they fully understood any risks or implications as well as opportunities,” Figueras-Dotti wrote.

Golf Saudi’s demand was to undertake this review “before finalising their commitment to the events on the 2024  schedule”.

The LET memo insisted the relationship with Golf Saudi remains “constructive and collaborative” with the $5 million Aramco Saudi Ladies International   taking place in Riyadh next month and the first of six $1m Aramco Team Series Presented by PIF being played at Florida in March.

But it has come at a cost, “The LET and LPGA boards have agreed to focus on maximising our joint venture rather than pursue the merger at this time,” the memo said. And to the LET pros, if not the women’s game at large, that is a huge setback.

“It’s funny because we all knew it [the adjournment] was connected to Golf Saudi and Aramco and the PIF, but we assumed they’d at least made some sort of offer for either us or the LPGA,” a leading LET player who wished to go unnamed, told Telegraph Sport.

“But the reality is they obviously just threatened to pull all their events and money if the merger went ahead. So they blew the whole thing up just because they could. The one thing we don’t understand is why a LET/LPGA merger hurts whatever it is that PIF wants.

“Is it connected to the merger between them and the male Tours and PIF highlighting that it is in control? If it is, this is just another case of us, the little guys, being expendable as the billionaires play their power games.”

Golf Saudi and the LET have been approached for comment.

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 1 month, then enjoy 1 year for just $9 with our US-exclusive offer.

Recommended Stories

Rory mcilroy eases up on liv golf criticism.

LIV Golf's most persistent critic has acknowledged the PGA Tour's flaws, and is starting to mend fences

PGA Tour, Saudis fail to reach agreement for golf's future by Dec. 31 deadline

The PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund haven't been able to deliver on their promised agreement, but they're working to extend the deadline into 2024.

Patrick Cantlay commits to PGA Tour, said he ‘declined offers’ to join LIV Golf

Despite rumors to the contrary, Patrick Cantlay is sticking with the PGA Tour in 2024.

Report: Tyrrell Hatton jumps to LIV, joins Jon Rahm's new team

Tyrrell Hatton is reportedly headed to LIV Golf, the Saudi-funded breakaway league, leaving the PGA Tour behind.

Yahoo Sports AM: Vegas, here we come

In today's edition: The Super Bowl is set, Aussie Open champs, a historic upset in England, top plays of the weekend, and more.

AP men's basketball Top 25: UConn, Purdue hold strong as Big 12 chaos continues

Who makes it out of the Big 12 on top is still anybody's guess.

MLB 2024 Fantasy Baseball Draft Rankings: Relief Pitchers

Check out where our fantasy analysts have the top relievers ranked going into the 2024 season.

Super Bowl 2024: Top 10 storylines including Patrick Mahomes, Brock Purdy and, yes, Taylor Swift

Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas will have many storylines, including the host city itself.

Dan Campbell, Detroit Lions not changing their approach after failed fourth-down conversions doomed Super Bowl hopes

Being aggressive is generally celebrated only when it works. But Campbell is always aggressive.

Will Taylor Swift attend the Super Bowl? Her concert tour schedule makes it tough

Taylor Swift's concert tour will make it tough for her to be at the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl 2024 schedule, odds: San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs set for Super Bowl battle in Las Vegas

Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas is officially set.

Brandon Aiyuk credits ladybug for miraculous catch that sparked 49ers comeback vs. Lions in NFC championship

Aiyuik made a wild play in a huge moment with a trip to the Super Bowl at stake.

Rangers pitchers Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer hoping for midseason return

Jacob deGrom is recovering from elbow surgery, and Max Scherzer is rehabbing from a lower back procedure.

Tigers sign top infield prospect Colt Keith to 6-year extension before he makes MLB debut

Colt Keith is the Tigers' No. 2 overall prospect.

FA Cup: Non-league Maidstone United stuns Ipswich Town to advance to fifth round for first time in club's history

The FA Cup produced another memorable moment on Saturday.

Vince McMahon resigns from WWE/UFC parent company amid rape, sex trafficking allegations

McMahon was accused of heinous behavior by a former WWE employee earlier this week.

How should fantasy football managers draft the stars of the NFL Conference Championships in 2024?

With just four teams left in the NFL playoffs, Jorge Martin projects how star players on those squads will fare next fantasy season.

Mikaela Shiffrin avoids serious injury after downhill crash on 2026 Olympics course

Shiffrin was one of 12 starters who didn't finish the race.

NFL injury tracker, championship weekend: Ravens' Mark Andrews set to return, Deebo Samuel at 'full go'

Everything you need to know injury-wise for NFL championship weekend.

2024 NBA All-Star Game starters: LeBron James' record-setting 20th appearance headlines selections

The Lakers star passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for another record.

Golf

As Saudis and PGA Tour look to strike deal, Euro tour CEO reportedly quits

T he DP World Tour's chief executive officer is resigning, as the formerly named European Tour, the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund continue to negotiate an agreement that could alter professional golf's landscape.  

As first reported by TSN on Wednesday, Keith Pelley will depart as DP World Tour CEO, and the soon-to-be 60-year-old Canadian will lead Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns a host of Toronto-based sports teams, including the NHL's Maple Leafs and the NBA's Raptors. As of early Wednesday evening, the DP World Tour had yet to confirm nor deny the report. 

The news also comes on the same day that the R&A announced that its boss , Martin Slumbers, would step down at year's end. Both moves can be considered surprising in light of the framework agreement announced early last June among the DP World Tour, the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia's PIF.

As part of that deal, the PIF would invest in a new, for-profit entity operated by the PGA Tour, and "the existing and future commercial investments and assets of PIF, DP World Tour and the PGA Tour related to the game of golf will be combined under one umbrella." But that agreement was largely met with shock at its announcement - notably, the PIF has funded LIV Golf, and for the past two seasons, LIV and the established tours have battled over players and prestige - and the deal has since gone past the parties' self-imposed New Year's Eve deadline to finalize terms. 

On Dec. 31, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan released a letter to his players , saying that the sides had agreed to push back the target deadline to a later date that still has not been determined. Shortly before that note, the conversations among the sides had grown increasingly complex. On the Tour's side, it had agreed to "advance" equity talks with the " Strategic Sports Group, " or SSG, a collection of wealthy investors who include the current and former owners of at least a dozen professional sports franchises. Part of Monahan's letter to Tour membership on Dec. 31 centered around the SSG investment, which the commissioner said had been undergone "meaningful progress" and was headed toward "finalization." The SSG investment could infuse billions into the Tour, but the negotiations risked running afoul of the Saudis, who could see the SSG investment as a Tour effort at creating leverage against them. Leverage, of course, was the primary motivation for LIV's poaching of reigning Masters champion and current World No. 3 Jon Rahm from the PGA Tour early last month in a deal reportedly worth several hundred million dollars . In addition to robbing the Tour of one of its most important players, the Rahm move had the effect of publicly reaffirming Saudi commitment to LIV and pro golf. The move was a boon for LIV, yes, but it was also a thinly veiled threat to a Tour establishment that has openly admitted it cannot financially compete with the Saudis.

And now Pelley, along with Slumbers, are moving on. Why now? Could that mean a deal is near? Notably, the TSN report was published at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday - which was 2:30 a.m. in Dubai, where the DP World Tour is playing its year-opening Dubai Invitational. 

Pelley had worked as DP World Tour CEO since 2015. Among his moves in his tenure, he strengthened an alliance between the formerly named European Tour and the PGA Tour that included the co-sanctioning of the DP World Tour's Scottish Open and the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship and Barracuda Championship, and awarding PGA Tour cards to the top 10 finishers on the DP World Tour's season-long points race.

That last move led some to think that the DP World Tour was losing stature. As for his recent thoughts on the proposed deal, Pelley said this to reporters - including Golf Digest's John Huggan - at last year's season-ending DP World Tour Championship:

"I can't give you much comment. I think there has been a tremendous amount of speculation, a tremendous amount of rumors. But the conversations we are having will be in the best interests of global golf and the best interests of the DP World Tour. I won't comment on specific formats or seasons as all those conversations are confidential. But, as I've said internally, things have heated up since the Ryder Cup. Discussions have intensified. Outside of that, I can't make any comment or speculate on anything."

Golf Magazine

Subscribe to the magazine.

The post As Saudis and PGA Tour look to strike deal, Euro tour CEO reportedly quits appeared first on Golf .

As Saudis and PGA Tour look to strike deal, Euro tour CEO reportedly quits

FSG-backed consortium is closing in on multibillion-dollar investment in PGA Tour

A role in PGA Tour Enterprises for the Saudi Arabia-backed Public Investment Fund, which is behind the competing LIV Golf tour, is still uncertain.

A remake of the PGA Tour is coming, with a strong Boston accent.

Strategic Sports Group, a consortium of prominent North American sports owners led by the Red Sox’ parent company Fenway Sports Group, is closing in on an investment that could approach $3 billion, according to a source close to the negotiations. The SSG investment would be a minority stake in the new for-profit PGA Tour Enterprises, as the golf circuit looks to bulk up its commercial operations.

A role in the new company for the Saudi Arabia-backed Public Investment Fund, which is behind the competing LIV Golf circuit, is still uncertain.

Advertisement

The PGA Tour has been in near-constant upheaval since the PIF formally launched LIV in late 2021, the upstart poaching well-known players with lucrative deals both prior to and since it began play in 2022. (The latest, according to The Telegraph, is Englishman Tyrrell Hatton, for a reported $65 million. Hatton was to be a member of Boston Common Golf , the FSG-backed entry in the simulator golf league TGL whose debut was pushed back to 2025.)

What appeared to be a protracted and expensive legal battle between the sides surprisingly was shelved in June , with the unveiling of a framework agreement that would see the tours join forces to remake men’s professional golf.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and LIV Golf chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan have been holding talks about the size, scope, and nature of the proposed partnership the last couple of months, passing through a proposed Dec. 31 deadline to complete a deal with a New Year’s announcement that “we are working to extend our negotiations into next year based on the progress we have made to date.”

The talks among the primary interested parties, which includes the DP World (formerly European) Tour, have otherwise been shrouded in secrecy for several months.

In December, the PGA Tour’s Policy Board — which includes players among the executives — acknowledged that it had chosen to advance in investment talks with the SSG consortium, a group that includes owners from the five largest North American sports leagues.

Along with FSG itself, its top four owners — John Henry, Tom Werner, Gerry Cardinale, and Mike Gordon — are individually listed as SSG members. In addition to the Red Sox, FSG also owns Liverpool Football Club, the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, and 80 percent of NESN. (Henry also owns the Globe.)

Also in the SSG mix is Celtics lead owner Wyc Grousbeck; Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio; Arthur Blank, owner of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and MLS’s Atlanta United; New York Mets owner Steven A. Cohen and his Cohen Private Ventures; David Moross of HighPost Capital; former Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry; and Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts.

In a statement concerning their proposed partnership with the PGA Tour, Henry said, “Strategic Sports Group [a consortium of US-based professional sports team investors] has expressed interest in supporting the PGA Tour and its alliance partner, the DP World Tour, and we look forward to a continued dialogue to help further the commercial aspects of the Tour on behalf of its membership, partners, and fans around the world.”

Soon after the SSG talks development, LIV Golf announced that it had signed reigning Masters champion and world No. 3 Jon Rahm in a deal reportedly worth more than $300 million. (Hatton is expected to join Rahm’s new LIV team.) Rahm will join other major champions Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Smith, and Phil Mickelson on LIV.

PGA Tour television ratings on CBS were up 1 percent last year from 2022. LIV Golf, which has a broadcast deal with The CW network, stopped revealing ratings of its tour stops in April.

Monahan’s revelation about working with, rather than against, PIF led to blowback substantial enough for the Belmont native and former FSG employee to take a leave of absence that he said was related to stress.

The involvement of PIF has caught the attention of lawmakers in Washington, D.C., concerned with Saudi Arabia’s stances on human rights , including the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose assassination US intelligence believed was approved by top Saudi leaders.

Michael Silverman can be reached at [email protected] .

Messi, Inter Miami lose to Saudi Arabian team Al-Hilal

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Lionel Messi and Inter Miami kicked off their tour of Saudi Arabia by losing to Al-Hilal 4-3 on Monday.

The Major League Soccer team is playing two games in the oil-rich kingdom as part of its preseason preparations, but even Messi could not inspire it to victory in Riyadh.

While Messi got on the score sheet with a second-half penalty, Malcom came up with the decisive goal to win the match in the 88th.

Al-Hilal had been strongly linked with a move for Messi when he left Paris Saint-Germain and became the most sought-after free agent in the sport last year.

He ultimately opted for a move to the United States to join David Beckham's Miami and quickly led the team to its first trophy, the Leagues Cup.

He and Miami will be hoping for even more success in his first full season and, the preparations include an extensive tour with stops in Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and Japan.

A potential showdown with Cristiano Ronaldo's Al-Nasser on Thursday is the most anticipated match.

Former Newcastle and Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic put Al-Hilal ahead in the 10th minute and Abdullah Al-Hamdan doubled the lead three minutes later.

Another of Miami's superstar signings, Luis Suarez, pulled one back but Al-Hilal's two-goal advantage was restored in the 44th by Michael.

Messi's moment came in the 54th, and a minute later David Ruiz evened the score.

Just when Miami looked to have a draw, Malcom came up with the winner.

AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

COMMENTS

  1. Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers

    04 - 07 Feb 2021. Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers. Royal Greens G&CC, King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia

  2. PGA Tour and Europe join forces with Saudi's LIV Golf. Here's what you

    The most disruptive year in golf ended Tuesday, June 6, 2023, when the PGA Tour and European tour agreed to a merger with Saudi Arabia's golf interests, creating a commercial operation designed to unify professional golf around the world.

  3. PGA Tour to merge with Saudis and end LIV Golf litigation

    The most disruptive year in golf ended Tuesday, June 6, 2023, when the PGA Tour and European tour agreed to a merger with Saudi Arabia's golf interests, creating a commercial operation designed to unify professional golf around the world. (Photo by Chris Trotman/LIV Golf via AP, File) Read More 2 of 6 |

  4. European players granted permission to compete in Saudi International

    Ewan Murray @mrewanmurray Wed 5 Jan 2022 07.30 EST The DP World Tour - the recently rebranded European Tour - will grant permission to players to take part in the controversial Saudi...

  5. Saudi International (golf)

    Established in 2019 as a European Tour event, it was the first European Tour event to be played in Saudi Arabia and was one of six European Tour events staged in the countries on the Arabian Peninsula.

  6. 'A new era in global golf': European Tour to be renamed DP World Tour

    Tue 9 Nov 2021 09.50 EST The collective will of golf's establishment to swat aside challenges by Saudi Arabia means the European Tour will be renamed from the start of next year. DP World,...

  7. Saudi International: Matteo Manassero leads with Bubba Watson and

    Italy's Matteo Manassero leads the Saudi International by two shots after an opening eight-under-par 62 at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club. ... winner on what was the European Tour ...

  8. European Tour: Saudi International 2021 Profile

    02/04 - 02/07/2021 European Tour : Saudi International 2021 Royal Greens G&CC - King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi-Arabia Round 4/4 Strokeplay Prize money: $ 3.500.000 Defending champion: Graeme McDowell Top 5 Leaderboard - Saudi International 2021 Show full Leaderboard of the Saudi International 2021 News News

  9. 2021 Saudi International: How to watch this week's European Tour event

    This week the European Tour heads to Saudi Arabia for the 2021 Saudi International, and plenty of big-name golfers from the States are making the trip to fight for the trophy, too. Here's...

  10. 2023 Aramco Saudi Ladies International final results: Prize money

    Ladies European Tour 2023 Aramco Saudi Ladies International final results: Prize money payout and leaderboard 02/19/2023 Golf News Net Golf News Net Radio - Where we never stop talking golf...

  11. European Tour makes a serious bogey in visiting Saudi Arabia

    "The European Tour is one of many global companies who operate in Saudi Arabia. We understand their goal to make parts of the country more accessible to global business, tourism and leisure over ...

  12. Golfers, European Tour catching heat for Saudi Arabia tournament

    The European Tour and players who are participating in this week's inaugural Saudi International golf tournament have received criticism in the wake of the decision to go ahead with the event ...

  13. Ladies European Tour: Lydia Ko claims one-shot victory at Aramco Saudi

    World No 1 Lydia Ko fired a final-round 68 to secure a one-shot victory and second Aramco Saudi Ladies International title. The New Zealander began Sunday a shot off the lead at Royal Greens Golf ...

  14. Golfers, European Tour facing tough questions ahead of controversial

    Jan 29, 2019 at 7:35 pm ET • 4 min read USATSI There is no great way to put this: This week's Saudi International on the European Tour has already been a bit of a mess and is creating plenty...

  15. PGA Tour, European tour agree to merge with Saudis, end LIV Golf feud

    The most disruptive year in golf ended Tuesday, June 6, 2023, when the PGA Tour and European tour agreed to a merger with Saudi Arabia's golf interests, creating a commercial operation designed to ...

  16. Saudi Arabia-backed golf league history, latest news

    The first professional golf event in Saudi Arabia — the Saudi International — was held in 2019 as a European Tour event, just months after the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The event has been criticized as a targeted attempt by the Saudi government to "sportswash" its controversial human rights record and improve ...

  17. A whole new experience on the Ladies European Tour in Saudi Arabia

    Both Sideri and I have received an invite to play this week in Saudi for the second Ladies European Tour (LET) event on this year's calendar, following the Kenya Ladies Open in February with a ...

  18. LPGA merger with LET tanked by Golf Saudi, player blasts LIV leader

    The LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour (LET) had agreed to merge, injecting life into women's golf overseas. That has all come to a sudden halt. Golf Saudi, a division of Saudi Arabia's ...

  19. PGA Tour and European tour agree to merge with Saudis and end ...

    The most disruptive year in golf ended Tuesday, June 6, 2023, when the PGA Tour and European tour agreed to a merger with Saudi Arabia's golf interests, creating a commercial operation designed to ...

  20. Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers

    From Lee Westwood's 25th European Tour victory at the first Rolex Series event of the season to Lucas Herbert's maiden win and Graeme McDowell's move back inside the World's top 50, here's what happened during the 2020 Desert Swing, ... Saudi Arabia. DP World Tour Partners ...

  21. PGA Tour, Europe to merge with Saudis and end LIV Golf litigation

    PGA Tour and European tour agree to merge with Saudis and end LIV Golf feud. Former President Donald Trump plays during the LIV Golf Pro-Am at Trump National Golf Club, Thursday, May 25, 2023, in ...

  22. Golf Saudi blocks Ladies European Tour merger with LPGA Tour

    Tom Morgan. Golf Saudi effectively blocked a merger between the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour, which had been heralded as a "landmark change" for the beleaguered European circuit. The ...

  23. 2023 Ladies European Tour

    The 2023 Ladies European Tour is a series of golf tournaments for elite female golfers from around the world. The tournaments are sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour (LET). ... Saudi Arabia: Alison Lee (n/a) 19.5: $500,000: Aramco Team Series individual event 18 Nov: Mallorca Ladies Open: Spain: Alexandra Försterling (2) 12:

  24. As Saudis and PGA Tour look to strike deal, Euro tour CEO ...

    The DP World Tour's chief executive officer is resigning, as the formerly named European Tour, the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund continue to negotiate an agreement that could ...

  25. For The Perfect Europe Tour

    For The Perfect Europe Tour | Only At Akbar Travels Creating the Best Europe Tour Packages: Showing 49 trips (show all) Akbar Choice Duration price Best Seller Send Query Amsterdam and Paris 5 Nights & 6 Days Amsterdam (2N) Paris (3N) Recommended For : Coach Tour Family Starting Price Per Adult SAR 2,992 View Details Fixed Departure Holidays Hotel

  26. Fenway Sports Group closing in on $3 billion PGA Tour investment

    The talks among the primary interested parties, which includes the DP World (European) Tour, have otherwise been shrouded in secrecy for several months. ... D.C., concerned with Saudi Arabia's ...

  27. Holding WTA Finals in Saudi Arabia would be 'step backward', say ...

    In an opinion piece for the Washington Post,, external the pair - who dominated women's tennis during the 1970s and '80s - described the WTA Finals as the "crown jewel" of the women's tour.

  28. Messi and Inter Miami lose to Saudi Arabian team Al-Hilal

    Share. RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Lionel Messi and Inter Miami kicked off their tour of Saudi Arabia by losing to Al-Hilal 4-3 on Monday. The Major League Soccer team is playing two games in ...

  29. PGA Tour sets 2024 Player Advisory Council

    A view shows the logo of PGA Tour during the Canadian Open's Championship Pro-Am at Oakdale Golf and Country Club in Toronto, Ontario, Canada June 7, 2023.