PGA Tour Policy Board member Peter Malnati does not see the value in LIV Golf's team concept

PGA Tour Policy Board member Peter Malnati does not see the value in LIV Golf’s team concept

A photo of Peter Malnati SOUTHAMPTON, BERMUDA - OCTOBER 29: Peter Malnati of the United States reacts to his birdie on the 18th green during the first round of the Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course on October 29, 2020 in Southampton, Bermuda. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

PGA Tour Policy Board player director Peter Malnati just does not get the team model behind LIV Golf, but he's at least willing to hear out the Saudi-owned tour's leader about it.

Malnati spoke Saturday after the third round of The Players Championship on a variety of subjects, including what he hopes to get out of what's expected to be a Monday board meeting in which Malnati and his fellow player directors will meet Saudi Public Investment Fund governor and LIV Golf benefactor Yasir Al Rumayyan for the first time.

"I need to understand better what Yasir is really trying to accomplish there," Malnati said. "I don't know LIV, what they're doing, but it seems like a very forced team model, to me. When, at the end of the day, are there any fans that care which team won the tournament? And, like, and I don't know, I don't know what fans of LIV want or care about, but are there any fans that care about who won it? I mean, that seems so contrived to me."

The potential integration of team golf, and specificially the LIV Golf franchise model of team golf, into any future alignment between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour has been a sticking point in conversations. Al Rumayyan believes in the value of team golf and its financial potential, but it also is not the primary vehicle for LIV Golf tournaments, which feature a $20 million individual purse split among 54 players (two which don't play on teams this season) and a $5 million team purse split among the top three teams out of 13 competing.

Malnati said he needs to get a better idea of how team golf could be integrated into a jammed PGA Tour calendar.

"I feel like we could also create some contrived team golf something, somewhere outside of the FedExCup season, but, like, what does he really want is a question that I want to understand better," he said. "Because I don't think it's some contrived, fake, add up random guys' scores and call them a team. I don't think that's it. I think what he means is more stuff like the Ryder Cup, I would guess, but I have no clue because I haven't talked to him."

If anything, Malnati sees team golf as its own series outside the main PGA Tour season, which is an option that has been floated by many influential players.

"I don't see a way that we incorporate team golf into the FedExCup schedule. I personally don't want that, but I can always have my mind changed if I see a great idea." Malnati said. He added, "We're going to have some time to play with in the fall, I think, we're going to have some options, but I just don't know."

Malnati is so disinterested in team golf that, until recently, he wasn't even seem aware that the PGA Tour has endorsed team golf with its backing of TGL. The debut season of the Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy-owned concept was delayed until 2025 after the original host venue was damaged beyond repair.

"Is that what we're doing with this TGL thing?" Malnati asked back to a reporter. "The TGL, the teams of that are, like, owned by owners. The only reason I even know that is because I saw the Atlanta team, there's a team in Atlanta, and it's like owned by the same guy that owns the Falcons (Arthur Blank) who has now come onto the PGA Tour Enterprises board, and it sounds really exciting, but I had no idea that's what TGL is.

"So there you go. There's some team golf. We'll whack it inside a dome or whatever they're doing."

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Ryan Ballengee

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