The PGA Tour is starting to formulate a plan to “reward” golfers who remained loyal to the league over LIV Golf.
PGA Tour policy board member Jimmy Dunne told ESPN on Friday that golfers who opted to stay with the Tour over LIV Golf will receive equity in the new golf league. How that works specifically has yet to be determined.
The move comes just days after Tour commissioner Jay Monahan’s surprise announcement about a merger of sorts between the Tour, the DP World Tour and LIV Golf.
"The new [company] would grow, and the [current PGA Tour] players would get a piece of equity that would enhance and increase in value as time went on," Dunne said, via ESPN. "There would have to be some kind of formulaic decision on how to do that. It would be a process to determine what would be a fair mechanism that would be really beneficial to our players."
One of the bigger issues with the merger, aside from Monahan’s blatant hypocrisy, is the fact that golfers who stuck with the Tour over the Saudi Arabian-backed venture turned down massive paydays to do so.
Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, among others, reportedly received deals worth more than $100 million simply to join LIV. Others, like Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm, reportedly turned down similar deals. Even Tiger Woods, who is still recovering from surgery, reportedly received an offer that was close to $1 billion.
"For me it didn't really make a difference. I was always going to be on the PGA Tour," Matthew Fitzpatrick said Thursday from the RBC Canadian Open. "Obviously for the guys that did turn down significant amounts of money then that's probably a tough one to swallow, and I feel for them."
It’s not clear how Dunne’s equity system will work just yet, or how big of a stake in the new company each golfer will get. LIV Golf members who return to the Tour, however, won’t be eligible to receive that equity.
Dunne: LIV Golfers will have to apply for reinstatement through committee
Monahan is set to serve as the CEO of the new golf league, which will be funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and include the Tour, the DP World Tour and LIV Golf — though it’s unclear if LIV Golf will continue after this season ends.
How LIV Golfers will be welcomed back to the Tour still remains to be seen.
"There still has to be consequences to actions," Rory McIlroy, one of the biggest opponents of LIV Golf, said earlier this week. "The people that left the PGA Tour irreparably harmed this Tour, started litigation against it. We can't just welcome them back in. Like, that's not going to happen. And I think that was the one thing that Jay was trying to get across yesterday is like, guys, we're not just going to bring these guys back in and pretend like nothing's happened. That is not going to happen."
Assuming LIV Golf doesn’t make it into a third season, Dunne said a committee would determine punishments for players who wanted to return. Per ESPN, it would be decided on a “case-by-case” basis.
"I think we would form a panel, including Tour players, that would evaluate what the terms would be," Dunne said, via ESPN. "Remember, they're coming back to compete on the Tour, so they have to be confident that they would be good enough to continue to play, and they have to be willing to incur the penalty for having gone. … Players on the LIV [tour] that wanted to reinstate into the PGA Tour would go through a process [and] suspension. Whatever the penalty was, they'd have to decide whether they wanted to do that or not and then they could play."