Premier Golf League rebuffed in attempts to meet with PGA Tour

As if the PGA Tour doesn’t have enough on its plate dealing with Greg Norman and his proposed LIV Golf International Series, along comes the Premier Golf League, making another pitch to make PGA Tour players even richer. The PGL has been around for a couple of years and has proposed different formats for their start-up but this latest offer seeks co-operation with the PGA Tour rather than confrontation. Bob Harig has the details for SI.COM.

Once a rival and now hoping to be become a part of the PGA Tour, the Premier Golf League has so far been rebuffed in its efforts to get a face-to-face meeting with Tour representatives.

Andy Gardiner, the CEO of the Premier Golf League, said a letter sent to the PGA Tour Policy Board in February outlining a plan that would include PGL events within the PGA Tour structure was studied by the Players Advisory Council as well as the Tour’s Policy Board.

There was no direct response to PGL other than through player-director Kevin Kisner, who told the Fire Pit Collective that an independent company studied the proposal and “the results were presented to us: not feasible.’’

The PGL outlined its plan in a Feb. 14 letter to the PGA Tour Policy Board that was shared with numerous players. According to the plan, it would generate significant equity value for all voting PGA Tour members, as well as those on the DP World Tour and Korn Ferry Tour.

The idea is to incorporate PGL’s 18-tournament, 48-player, 54-hole events with a team concept into the PGA Tour schedule.

PGL would issue shares equal to 50 percent to PGA Tour players, 7.5 percent to the Korn Ferry players, 2.5 percent to DP World Tour players, 5 percent to the Tour’s commercial partners, 2.5 percent to PGL’s directors (which could include commissioner Jay Monahan), 7.5 percent to a charitable foundation (to benefit the amateur game) and 25 percent to the World Golf Group, which PGL operates under and is based in London.

World Golf Group states it believes the PGL will generate $10 billion of equity value by 2030, which would equate to $20 million per PGA Tour voting member and $3 million per Korn Ferry member over the next eight years.

Gardiner, who has been involved with this concept for several years, said he is surprised there was discussion by the Policy Board about the concept without inviting his team to talk about it.

He believes the Policy Board is not fulfilling its duty to the membership without talking to the World Golf Group.

“We suggested an independent valuation back in November, but that normally involves two parties (the World Golf Group and the Tour) agreeing to appoint, jointly, a suitable, truly independent, expert third party, to evaluate all the relevant information and then deliver an unbiased assessment,” Gardiner said. “It can’t be done properly without consulting the company being evaluated.”

The key point of the PGL proposal is that it would impact all members, not just the elite or top players on the Tour. It includes a cash advance on future equity value of $460 million. In simple terms, each of 200 voting members of the PGA Tour would receive $2 million upon the launch of the PGL, with 200 Korn Ferry members each getting $300,000.

Gardiner noted the significant increases the PGA Tour has made over the past two years via the Player Impact Program, the Comcast Business Top 10, purses and the FedEx Cup overall payout, but it’s a boon to those who perform the best.

“Why do that but deprive a majority of your members, those outside the top 10 or top 50, of the opportunity to generate extraordinary equity value?” he said.

Gardiner said if the independent company used by the Tour came up with different numbers, what were they? How much would each member stand to make under the proposal?

“Why not at least discuss a structure that would benefit all members significantly and create the optimum format for fans?’’ Gardiner said. “Why not sit down and let us take you through our numbers? If we can’t prove the case, what have you lost?”

Fairways Magazine

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