Spieth: With Strategic Sports Group investment, we don't need the Saudi money
PGA Tour

Spieth: With Strategic Sports Group investment, we don’t need the Saudi money

A photo of golfer Jordan Spieth
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Jordan Spieth is a member of the PGA Tour Policy Board, taking over for Rory McIlroy after he resigned. Needless to say, he's been an active part of the fast-moving negotiations that led to the Jan. 31 announcement of Strategic Sports Group's $3 billion investment in the newly formed for-profit PGA Tour Enterprises.

The PGA Tour leadership unveiled the investment ahead of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and they also indicated to membership that negotiations continue with the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which owns the overwhelming portion of LIV Golf, about a potential merger of sorts.

However, if Spieth's comments are representative of his peers on Tour -- and they may or may not qualify -- then there may be a prevailing view that the Saudi money, if not a deal with them, is not absolutely necessary.

"I don't think it's needed," Spieth said Wednesday. "I think the positive would be a unification, but I think that, like I mentioned before, I just think it's something that is almost not even worth talking about right this second given how timely everything would be to try to get it figured out."

Spieth sees an inherent advantage in working with Strategic Sports Group to, more or less, enhance the existing PGA Tour business model instead of integrating LIV Golf or some version of its team golf concept.

"The idea is that we have a strategic partner that allows the PGA Tour to go forward the way that it's operating right now without anything else, with the option of other investors," he said.

Those investors don't necessarily have to be the Public Investment Fund, as PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan suggested there were other interested investors at a larger valuation than the $12 billion agreed-to number with Strategic Sports Group. As part of this deal, some 200 PGA Tour members will have access to an equity-stake program worth approximately $1.5 billion. The stake will vest over time, and each individual player's share will be based upon "career accomplishments, recent achievements, future participation and services and PGA Tour membership status."

Perhaps that part is the most exciting for the players, particularly stars who now have a long-term piece of the pie in the business success of the PGA Tour.

"The players are now owners," Spieth said. "So not only do they benefit with the tour, they now are equity owners, so they want to push it themselves. They want to make the product better themselves. Not that they didn't before, but you directly benefit from owning a piece."

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is a scratch golfer...sometimes.

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