PGA Tour Board Pressed For Transparency By Discontented Players

A group of 21 PGA Tour members, including several lower-ranked pros, have demanded greater transparency from the Tour’s Policy Board regarding outside investment proposals that could dramatically impact the circuit’s structure and economics.

The players sent a letter through legal counsel on December 10 insisting the Board promptly share details of any potential partnerships with Tour membership. They also requested a meeting with independent Board directors to discuss proposals under consideration.

The letter came in response to a Board memo updating players on negotiations with two investment consortiums – Strategic Sports Group, comprised of major U.S. sports owners like Fenway Sports Group and Arthur Blank, and the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia.

The players’ legal statement argued that “only with additional information can the PGA Players ensure that the right decisions are made for the right reasons and that no players are left behind.” It suggested player views on proposals are not yet being adequately considered.

While united on transparency concerns, the group does not appear part of any organized player movement. Only 5 of the 21 golfers are currently ranked in the world top 200, indicating diminishing playing status on Tour.

Since the letter has been made public, Wesley Bryan has removed himself from the group of 21. 

In contrast, SSG includes highly successful sports owners like FSG, which controls baseball’s Boston Red Sox and England’s Liverpool FC, plus Atlanta’s Arthur Blank and Milwaukee Bucks principal owner Marc Attanasio. The Saudi fund is also equipped to invest billions in growing the PGA Tour.

With massive change potentially afoot, lower-status pros who feel excluded from deliberations over the Tour’s future direction have taken legal action to force their way into the boardroom, at least virtually through information sharing. Their next move may depend on if and how the Policy Board responds.