PGA Tour commissioner says Tour ‘couldn’t afford to keep battling Saudi Arabia,’ Wall Street Journal reports


PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan told employees in a meeting on Thursday that it couldn’t “conduct a lengthy spending war against Saudi Arabia,” according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

According to the report, Monahan during a meeting at PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida told employees that the Tour’s financial model was “unsustainable” while fighting Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, a government-controlled fund that has $650 billion in assets under management, according to its most recent filing.

“We cannot compete with a foreign government with unlimited money,” Monahan told employees, according to the Wall Street Journal. “This was the time … We waited to be in the strongest possible position to get this deal in place.”

The meeting came days after the PGA Tour declared a partnership with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf, as well as the DP World Tour, unifying the trio under a new, yet-to-be-named, commercial entity.

According to the Journal, Monahan told employees that the Tour had already spent $50 million in legal fees and had dipped into its reserves for $100 million to help pay increased purses in elevated events and other bonuses to players.

“To characterize this agreement was made due to litigation costs and other use of reserves is an oversimplification,” a PGA Tour spokesperson told CNN on Saturday. “The PGA TOUR has never been a more valuable property and the Public Investment Fund (PIF) has recognized that value and the opportunity for ROI with their investment in the TOUR.”

“Additionally, this transaction will make professional golf more competitive with other professional sports and sports leagues,” the Tour continued.