PGA Tour director makes telling admission over ‘divided’ policy board as LIV Golf saga rolls on

The American circuit’s pursuit of a peace agreement with LIV Golf is still under negotiation between the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and the PGA Tour.

Director of the PGA Tour policy board Joe Ogilvie acknowledged that while golf’s premier circuit continues to haggle with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF), reports that the policy board is “dysfunctional” and “divided” are “fair.”

The Tour and their LIV Golf rivals have been at war for the past two years, but it looked like the feud might be coming to an end a year ago. Commissioner of the PGA Tour Jay Monahan announced last June that the circuit and PIF had come to a framework agreement that would bring professional golf back to the United States.

However, a year later, the sport is still divided because neither of the two opposing sides has formally approved a peace agreement. Flaws in the deal have started to surface as the PGA Tour and PIF prepare to begin talks for a second year.

In an attempt to reach a deal, the Tour’s policy board is now more crucial than ever, but Monahan and colleagues’ work has drawn criticism. Recently, there has been unrest among the playing quota as well as the resignations of two directors, Jimmy Dunne and Mark Flaherty.

Rory McIlroy chose to step down from his position as player director in November after becoming entangled in the off-course controversy. He expressed interest in rejoining the board last month, but his request was denied due to alleged opposition from Tiger Woods and Patrick Cantlay, among others.

Ogilvie, a former player, acknowledged that some issues still need to be resolved and that he has a seat at the policy board table. When asked if the board was “divided” and “dysfunctional,” he responded to Golfweek with, “Yeah, that is a fair statement.” He went on to point out how badly the PIF negotiations were handled, saying, “Looking back, you would definitely handle the Framework Agreement differently if you had a big mulligan.

“I believe all those involved would agree that the rollout of that was a complete disaster. To create the Framework Agreement, a largely closed decision-making process was used. From there it was nearly impossible to recover. When the board didn’t meet for two weeks for therapy, something had to give.

“I’m not sure if calling it that is appropriate, but it never took place. A little humility goes a long way, and I didn’t think there was much of that. That’s my opinion. Although I wasn’t present for those conversations, there was division. There were serious problems with trust, and it’s very difficult to regain once it’s been lost.”

Ogilvie was one of the men in the Tour’s policy board meeting with PIF in March while their negotiations were still ongoing in the Bahamas. Speaking first, he said of the meeting with Yasir Al-Rumayyan and his group: “It was an ideal first meeting… To believe that we will shake hands and declare, “We’re done here,” after that meeting would be naive. It was a very positive meeting, and it was evident that Jay and [Al-Rumayyan] respected each other, which is also positive.

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