Tour issuing $930 million to four groups in initial player equity grants

Tour issuing $930 million to four groups in initial player equity grants
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The equity grants announced last week as part of the PGA Tour’s new partnership with Strategic Sports Group (SSG) will be awarded to four groups of players and initially total $930 million, according to a three-page memo sent to players Wednesday from commissioner Jay Monahan.

According to the memo, the Tour is planning for a mid-March rollout of the equity program.

“The issuance of equity in PGA Tour Enterprises requires that we comply with important legal and regulatory requirements, and it is critical that we listen to and follow the recommendations of subject-matter experts [across legal, regulatory, finance, and tax] on how we roll out the program,” the memo read. “Until we complete this process, we will not be able to answer certain questions that we know are top of mind for the membership including informing individuals who will receive initial grants and the amounts of those individual awards.”

The initial grant of equity in the Tour – which was part of last week’s announcement of SSG’s minority investment of $1.5 billion into PGA Tour Enterprises, a new, for-profit entity – will be awarded to 193 players in four groups.

  • Group 1 will grant $750 million in equity to 36 players based on “career performance, last five-year performance, and Player Impact Program results.”
  • Group 2 will consist of $75 million granted to 64 players based on performance the last three years
  • Group 3 will be an additional $30 million granted to 57 players who “have earned certain fully-exempt PGA Tour status.”
  • Group 4 will be focused on legacy players, like Jack Nicklaus, and grant $75 million to 36 players “who were instrumental to building the modern PGA Tour, based on career performance.”

“All initial grants will vest over time and will require minimum participation [playing 15 or more events] and/or service requirements commensurate with the value of the grant,” the memo read.

The plan also calls for “recurring” grants of $600 million through 2030 and will similarly reward “future top performers and will be based on [the] last three-year performance, last year performance and Player Impact Program results.” The recurring grants, like the initial grants, will include minimum participation and service requirements.

Players do not have to be a part of the initial grant to participate in the recurring ones and a member will only receive a grant from one of the groups at the outset.

The Tour also plans to communicate the details of the equity program over the next few weeks with eight “modules” and Q&A sessions planned with advisors from Korn Ferry starting next Monday.

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