In Senate Preview, PGA Tour Chief Operating Officer Ron Price Admits Mishandling Of Deal Rollout
The PGA Tour mishandled last month’s announcement of a framework agreement between the circuit, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and the DP World Tour, and acknowledged the “misinformation or misunderstanding” that followed, the Tour’s chief operating officer, Ron Price, wrote in an op-ed for The Athletic.
“Due to the confidential nature of negotiations surrounding the framework agreement, much of the initial reaction has been negative, colored by misinformation or misunderstanding. That’s something we take full ownership of and deeply regret,” Price wrote.
The op-ed is a preview of what Price, along with Tour policy board member Jimmy Dunne, plan to tell Senators Tuesday when they testify before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
Senators had originally requested Tour commissioner Jay Monahan testify but he remains on leave with a “medical situation” until July 17. The committee also requested the governor of the PIF, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, and LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman testify, but they had “scheduling conflicts.”
Price plans to explain to the committee why the Tour changed course following a contentious year of lawsuits and public criticism between the circuit, LIV Golf and the PIF.
“Weighed against the prospect of a continued, unsustainable battle that threatened our very existence, given the safeguards that guarantee our self-determination and the possibilities afforded by new investments, ‘yes’ was the clear answer to the framework agreement,” he wrote.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., requested the hearing, which begins Tuesday in Washington, D.C., at 10 a.m. ET, as well as information about the framework agreement, which has been released to the public. However, many questions about the agreement remain.
“As we have moved beyond costly and destructive litigation (which the framework agreement resolved) and are now exploring whether we can reach a definitive agreement, we are committed to answering those questions and showing how this deal will benefit professional golf – particularly our players, fans, and partners,” Price wrote in the op-ed.
Price and the Tour have been scrambling to explain the agreement to Tour members, the media and the public, and officials have aggressively attempted to change the narrative that the circuit has “merged” with LIV Golf and that PIF and Al-Rumayyan now control professional golf.
“The PGA Tour’s controlling interest on that board of directors [of the new for-profit entity the agreement would create] will remain constant going forward, regardless of the size of the PIF’s initial or any future incremental investments,” Price wrote. “The board of directors will also have the ability to decline any unwanted investment.”