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Players returning from LIV Golf is part of Saudis’ agreement with PGA Tour

AP – The PGA Tour and European tour have agreed to work with Saudi backers of LIV Golf to decide how defectors to the rival league can return and what kind of punishment they should face, according to a framework agreement obtained by The Associated Press (AP).

The agreement also said the for-profit company to be formed by the PGA Tour and the Saudis will be the “entity for professional golf” and that the tours will coexist with LIV Golf.

The framework agreement, signed on May 30, was among documents requested by Sen Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn, for a July 11 hearing in Washington. Blumenthal chairs the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

“Our goal is to uncover the facts about what went into the PGA Tour’s deal with the Saudi Public Investment Fund and what the Saudi takeover means for the future of this cherished American institution and our national interest,” Blumenthal said last week.

The PGA Tour has said it would participate, though it was not clear if Commissioner Jay Monahan would attend. He stepped away on June 13 – one week after the stunning deal was announced – for a “medical situation” and turned day-to-day operations over to two executives.

Dustin Johnson. PHOTO: AFP

LIV Golf returns this week in Spain and at least finishes the 2023 season, if not beyond. The agreement said the PGA Tour and European tour “will work cooperatively and in good faith to establish a fair and objective process for any players who desire to re-apply for membership… and for determining fair criteria and terms of readmission consistent with each Tour’s disciplinary policies”.

The PGA Tour suspended players once they competed in a LIV event because they did not have releases required under the tour’s policy. The suspensions are believed to be at least through the 2024 season.

The AP previously reported on the assurances in the agreement that the tour would keep a controlling interest in the new commercial entity – known for now as “NewCo” – regardless of how much the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia contributes.