The PGA Tour Goes International

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This weekend was packed with sports action. On top of the normal football docket, Mike Tyson returned to the ring 15 years after his last fight. Charles Barkley and Phil Mickelson defeated Peyton Manning and Stephen Curry in ”The Match,” a charity golf outing.

And that wasn’t the only golf news on tap. On Friday, the PGA Tour struck a landmark strategic alliance with the European Tour.

Quick Regroup For The Non-Golfers

The PGA Tour is the premier global golf organization. It’s got the biggest tournaments, heftiest purses, and attracts the top golf talent from around the world:

  • Of the 20 Europeans among the top 75 in the world, only four are not members of the PGA Tour.
  • This year, the average PGA Tour purse will be roughly $7 million. By contrast, on the European Tour, the purse rarely exceeds $1 million.

The Deal Specifics: Remain vague. The PGA Tour will have a minority stake in the European Tour’s media production company. The two tours will also “explore collaboration, work together on strategic commercial opportunities including collaborating on global media rights in certain territories.”

What Else To Know

This wasn’t the only deal on the table.

Negotiations were reportedly complicated by a rival proposal submitted to the European Tour by the Raine Group, a private equity firm that has fronted a proposed league called the “Premier Golf League”. The PGL, for short, would host “highly-lucrative,” limited-field tournaments with a team element.

But the proposed tour was dealt a blow in March when Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka — at the time the top three ranked players in the world — all publicly rejected the PGL. McIlroy said he objected to its source of financing, which was an investment fund controlled by the Saudi Arabian regime.

The Takeaway: Commentators expect the deal to lay the groundwork for a more integrated global golf community. Post pandemic of course.