Patrick Cantlay confirms Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund meeting

On Friday, Golfweek was first to report a group of PGA Tour players were nearing a meeting with the head of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in an effort to continue to broker a deal between the Tour and the controversial sovereign wealth fund that has been disrupting men’s professional golf.

Two sources told Eamon Lynch a meeting was tentatively scheduled for Monday at a private residence in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, following the conclusion of the Players Championship at nearby TPC Sawgrass. Patrick Cantlay, a player director on the PGA Tour policy board, confirmed the meeting with Sports Illustrated on Sunday and tabbed the event as a meet-and-greet.

“Well, I’ve gotta hear out what they have to say, and I will always do my best to represent the entire membership whenever I am in a meeting in that capacity,” Cantlay told SI after his final round at the Players Championship. “I think more information is always better.”

Cantlay didn’t provide any details for the meeting. It’s unknown who else from the Tour, PIF or Strategic Sports Group may be in attendance.

“If it weren’t to happen, we would go on in a similar paradigm to how we’re going on right now,” Cantlay said when asked about if a deal could not be consummated. “I think there’s pros and cons.”

Five of the six player-directors on the Tour’s Policy Board — all of whom now also serve on the board of the new for-profit entity, PGA Tour Enterprises — were in the field at the Players this week: Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott, Peter Malnati and Webb Simpson. Only Tiger Woods did not compete. Joe Ogilvie, a retired veteran who was added to both boards last week as a liaison to player directors, plans to arrive in Ponte Vedra Beach Sunday in advance of an Enterprises board meeting scheduled for Tuesday at Tour headquarters.

From Golfweek’s original report on the meeting:

A meeting between Al-Rumayyan and the players would be intended as an informal ice-breaker in a bid to advance negotiations between the Tour and the PIF, talks which have been largely stalled since the June 6 announcement of a Framework Agreement between the parties. A faction of player-directors remains angered about the secretive process leading to that agreement and are known to be skeptical of a deal with the Saudis, who have poured billions of dollars into LIV Golf.

Earlier in the week during his annual State of the Tour address, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan confirmed he met with PIF governor and LIV Golf chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan in Saudi Arabia in January and that he was accompanied by representatives of the SSG. In January, SSG invested $1.5 billion into PGA Tour Enterprises, the vehicle through which the future of the sport will be shaped.

“While we have several key issues that we still need to work through, we have a shared vision to quiet the noise and unlock golf’s worldwide potential,” Monahan said of the “accelerated” discussions. “It’s going to take time, but I reiterate what I said at the Tour Championship in August. I see a positive outcome for the PGA Tour and the sport as a whole. Most importantly, I see a positive outcome for our great fans.”

Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch contributed to this article.

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