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Phil Mickelson takes aim at the PGA Tour after seeing leaked memo

Phil Mickelson has hit out at the PGA Tour after a leaked memo from the circuit has highlighted the potential for player equity in its new for-profit entity known as PGA Tour Enterprises.

In light of the PGA Tour’s ongoing framework agreement with the Saudi Public Investment Fund, the PGA Tour held its final Policy Board meeting of the year at its HQ on Tuesday November 14.

Tiger Woods, who was named a player director earlier this season, was called in for the “significant board meeting”.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan led the meeting and he confirmed in the memo that was sent out to members that negotiations towards a definitive agreement with the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) and the DP World Tour remain a “priority”.

Related: Rory McIlroy reveals he is “not” enjoying his seat at the PGA Tour table

According to the memo sent out to PGA Tour players, which you can read in full below, Monahan penned:

“Progress has been deliberate given the complex nature of the potential agreement, and we will keep you apprised of the progress, with continued input and direction from your Player Directors and player advisor Colin Neville.

“Additionally, as you know, the Framework Agreement with PIF and the DP World Tour generated unsolicited – although not surprising – interest from numerous outside potential investors.

“The opportunity to potentially participate in the transformative growth of the PGA Tour for the first time brought forth dozens of inbound prospects, which were all initially vetted by the Tour’s investment bank, Allen & Company.

“In the Policy Board meeting, we reviewed these remaining bids with the Independent Directors and Player Directors – with input from Allen & Co. and The Raine Group – and agreed to continue the negotiation process in order to select the final minority investor(s) in a timely manner.”

Monahan’s memo then also addressed potential for player equity in its new for-profit entity, PGA Tour Enterprises.

The memo read:

“Tour management has designed a program that would align the interests of our members with the commercial business of the Tour via direct equity ownership in PGA Tour Enterprises.

At the point we secure outside investment, this would be a unique offering in professional sports, as no other league grants its players/members direct equity ownership in the league’s business.

“We recognize – as do all of the prospective minority investors who are in dialogue with us – that the PGA Tour will be stronger with our players more closely aligned with the commercial success of the business.”

Read the full PGA Tour memo, which has been leaked all over social media, here:



It was that particular part of the memo that drew the ire of 45-time PGA Tour winner Mickelson, who famously left the PGA Tour to join LIV Golf in a deal reportedly worth $200m in the summer of 2022.

In response to the PGA Tour’s latest memo, Mickelson tweeted:

“What an amazing change of philosophy in 2 years. “If it’s not 100% owned and controlled by the PGA Tour it will be viewed as hostile.” Ed Herlihy and Jay Monahan October 30, 2021. Thank you LIV, PIF, His Excellency and all the players willing to stand up to Jay’s threats and disparagement to force positive change.”

Prior to his move to LIV Golf, six-time major champion Mickelson hit out at the PGA Tour’s “obnoxious greed” in an interview with John Huggan.

Mickelson took specific aim at PGA Tour players not having access to their own media.

In February 2022, Mickelson told Huggan:

“It’s not public knowledge, all that goes on. But the players don’t have access to their own media. If the tour wanted to end any threat [from Saudi or anywhere else], they could just hand back the media rights to the players. But they would rather throw $25 million here and $40 million there than give back the roughly $20 billion in digital assets they control. Or give up access to the $50-plus million they make every year on their own media channel.

“There are many issues, but that is one of the biggest. For me personally, it’s not enough that they are sitting on hundreds of millions of digital moments. They also have access to my shots, access I do not have. They also charge companies to use shots I have hit. And when I did ‘The Match’—there have been five of them—the tour forced me to pay them $1 million each time. For my own media rights. That type of greed is, to me, beyond obnoxious.”

What do you make of the PGA Tour’s latest plans? Was Phil Mickelson right about the PGA Tour when he made his comments known in 2022? Share your thoughts and comments below.

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