Premier Golf League lobbies players for new tournament

PGA Tour players are being aggressively lobbied by another entity, separate to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf, that promises to generate eye-watering Wealth for its participants through a Splinter league.

The Premier Golf League, created by the British-based World Golf Group and not to be confused with Greg Norman’s controversial LIV Golf Invitational Series, is doubling down on plans to launch a lucrative global tour that it wants to operate under the PGA Tour umbrella.

The PGL has been in talks with players for years but has failed to get off the ground, only to see LIV adopt a tweaked version of its model and prepare for the June launch.

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That has spurred the PGL to renew its efforts in convincing influential players on the PGA Tour to back its proposal.

In a strongly-worded letter obtained and published in full by Golfweek and dated for May 5, World Golf Group pushes PGA Tour voting members to reconsider their position having been repeatedly shot down.

The letter also includes a not-so-subtle swipe at PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan for his response to LIV Golf’s emergence, which has included threats of lifetime bans and the introduction of some individual bonuses.

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“Your profession is approaching the historic crossroads. The ‘International Series,’ funded and owned by LIV Golf Investments, represents an existential Threat, not only to the PGA Tour’s dominance, but also its model, ”the letter reads.

“Change is not only inevitable, it is happening – and no amount of purse rejigging, head-burying, ban-threatening, alliance-making or‘ moving-on ’will derail it.

“LIV’s superb format (based on our very own, original, PGL format) is capable of generating $ 10 billion-plus ($ A13.8bn) of equity value. Hence, LIV is prepared to spend $ 400 million-plus ($ A552m) to demonstrate the brilliance of the model across eight events. ”

PGL’s plan is to run an F1-style world tour in which golfers simultaneously compete as individuals, and in 12 teams of four, across 18 events. Twelve of the events would be in the US, and six would come in Asian and European swings.

Each event would have a purse of $ 20 million ($ A27.6m) with the Winner pocketing $ 4 million ($ A5.5m), while there would be a $ 1 million ($ A1.4m) team bonuses on offer each week.

Central to the PGL’s proposal, however, is that it wants to operate under the PGA Tour – similar to the current World Golf Championships – and it is offering players a 50 per cent stake in the league.

World Golf Group claims in the letter that the PGL is capable of generating $ 10 billion-plus ($ A13.8bn) of equity value.

The letter offers PGA Tour players two options:

– “A) Own 50 per cent of the PGL and make ~ $ 20 million each ($ 2 million upfront), with a further ~ $ 1 billion of value to be shared between members of the Korn Ferry and DP World Tours

– or B) Do nothing and leave LIV to generate that value, while the two oldest Tours contemplate a full Merger that would serve neither membership. ”

Players Advisory Council Chairperson Rory McIlroy has pushed back on the concept.Source: Getty Images

The PGL suffered a major setback earlier this year when Players Advisory Council Chair Rory McIlroy presented the proposal to the PGA Tour’s Policy Board.

Consultants crunched the numbers of the PGL proposal and found it to be not feasible, saying that it would need to deliver 20 events of the Ryder Cup status every year to meet its projections.

The letter Quotes McIlroy’s response as: “We had Allen and the company present to the board in Orlando about the PGL proposal. They don’t think 10B by 2030 is feasible at all. They got you’d need to create 20 Ryder cups a year from now until then to get that number. ”

The letter then says that the claim is “Bulls ** t”, saying Allen and Co. never spoke to the PGL “in order to produce an accurate valuation”.

A call to action follows in the letter, asking for player representatives on the PAC and the Policy Board to seek an independent valuation of the PGL.

“If seventy or more of you do this it will happen,” the letter reads.

It ends: “You should not fear the Wrath of Jay Monahan, they are not on the Policy Board and works for you. You should exercise your rights.

“Despite being‘ your ’PGA Tour, you don’t own it (nor will you own LIV or the Super Golf League). You could own half of the PGL.

“Act now or spend a lifetime wondering:“ What if …? ”.

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The PGA Tour is already fighting fires with the LIV Golf Invitational Series said to have poached 15 of the world’s top 100 players, including Phil Mickelson, for its rebel league starting next month.

The season-opening LIV Golf Invitational at Centurion Club, near London, is worth $ 25 million and will be followed by seven more big-money events that Norman is certain will convince more high-profile players to join.

Also among them is Lee Westwood who has asked to be released from both the PGA and European Tours.

“This is my job,” he added. “I do this for money. It’s not the only reason for doing it. But if anybody comes along and gives any of us a chance at a pay rise, then you have to seriously consider it, don’t you? ”


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