Jimmy Dunne resigns from PGA Tour policy board nearly one year after

The man who set up the deal between the PGA Tour and the Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund — the financial backers of LIV Golf — will not be around to potentially see it through. Jimmy Dunne on Monday resigned from his post on the PGA Tour policy board stating that the no longer sees how he can be useful to the body.

Dunne explained his abrupt resignation in a letter.

“When I arrived on the Board in January 2023, everybody involved with the game was concerned about the fundamental threat of LIV Golf. They were successfully luring away some of our top players, including several major champions. It was clear that the fracture would greatly damage our game and the Tour. On top of that, the Tour was engaged in burdensome litigation that was expensive, unwelcome, and uncertain.

“As directed by Commissioner [Jay] Monahan, I engaged LIV’s majority owner, the Public Investment Fund, to see if we could end the lawsuits and reunify the game. Importantly, we were able to come to an agreement in which the lawsuits were dismissed with prejudice and a path was created for the Tour to remain in control of professional golf. Since there was no exclusivity clause, the players had a full range of options to seek outside investors. That resulted in a multi-billion-dollar commitment from the Strategic Sports Group. I believe that history will look favorably on this outcome and the very real opportunities now afforded the Tour.”

Dunne further notes that he has not negotiated with the PIF since June 2023, and since players now outnumber others on the board, he felt like his role moving forward was “utterly superfluous” given “no meaningful progress has been made towards a transaction with the PIF.”

Dunne’s resignation comes roughly one year after the PGA Tour and the PIF announced a framework agreement to merge commercial operations under a new for-profit entity, which has since been dubbed PGA Tour Enterprises. The agreement dropped expensive litigation between the two parties and made it so the discovery process could be avoided.

Beyond making first contact with PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan last April, Dunne testified in front of Congress alongside PGA Tour chief operating officer Ron Price to detail the discussions.

PGA Tour Enterprises has been busy accepting a $3 billion infusion from its now-primary investor, Strategic Sports Group. However, conversations with the PIF about bringing the PGA Tour and LIV Golf under one umbrella have stalled. PGA Tour chief competitions officer Tyler Dennis told a small group of media last week at the Wells Fargo Championship that he had “no material updates” on the state of negotiations.

“Unifying professional golf is paramount to restoring fan interest and repairing wounds left from a fractured game,” Dunne concluded. “I have tried my best to move all minds in that direction.”

Dunne was not a member of the transaction subcommittee, which is tasked with negotiating with the PIF. Rory McIlroy announced after his first round last week that he would have a role on this committee after being boxed out of a potential return to the PGA Tour policy board.

It was expected that McIlroy would return to the post from which he resigned last fall as Webb Simps hoped Rory would take his place. A small subset of board members — reportedly consisting of the likes of Patrick Cantlay and Jordan Spieth (who took McIlroy’s vacant seat) — was uncomfortable with the 35-year-old’s potential return.

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