Commissioner provides Policy Board meeting update to players
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Policy Board approves Independent Director, provides update on Definitive Agreement, player compensation plan
Written by Staff @PGATOUR
Following a PGA TOUR Policy Board meeting Monday, Commissioner Jay Monahan sent a memo to players outlining several important updates regarding the state of the TOUR.
Commissioner Monahan called the Policy Board meeting “productive” and said he’s “pleased with the progress achieved and the direction provided.”
Among the discussion topics were the recommendation of Joe Gorder for the open Independent Director position, the Definitive Agreement with the PIF and DP World Tour and an update on a program that would offer TOUR members equity in PGA TOUR Enterprises.
Gorder, the Executive Chairman of Valero Energy Corporation, will fill the fifth Independent Director seat. The Ad Hoc Independent Director Selection Committee – which included Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson, Mark Flaherty and Mary Meeker – vetted over 90 candidates before selecting Gorder.
Under Gorder’s leadership, Valero has steadfastly supported the PGA TOUR since 2002 as the title sponsor of the Valero Texas Open, with the partnership secure through 2028. Valero has generated more than $228 million in charitable giving in that time. Gorder replaces Randall Stephenson, who resigned in July.
“As our governance continues to evolve, it has been a positive step and a great experience to be part of the search committee for the new Independent Director,” Player Director Patrick Cantlay said in a release announcing Gorder’s selection. “Webb and I are confident that Joe Gorder’s career accomplishments, leadership credentials and longstanding support of the PGA TOUR make him the ideal candidate. Joe also stood out to us throughout the search with his understanding of the TOUR’s strengths, as well the challenges and opportunities ahead. We’re excited to welcome him to the Board.”
Officers and Directors for 2024 were also approved. Cantlay was reappointed as the fifth Player Director (2024-26). Ed Herlihy will continue as Policy Board Chairman, and Flaherty will serve a second four-year term (2024-27).
Commissioner Monahan also wrote in Tuesday’s memo that the PGA TOUR remains focused on negotiations toward a Definitive Agreement with the PIF and the DP World Tour after a Framework Agreement between the parties was reached June 6. Commissioner Monahan said the TOUR remains focused on the negotiations but characterized the progress as “deliberate,” citing the complex nature of the negotiations.
The Framework Agreement also generated what Commissioner Monahan described as “unsolicited, but unsurprising” interest from outside investors, and several of those proposals were reviewed Monday by the Independent Directors and Player Directors, with input from Allen & Co., the TOUR’s investment bank, and The Raine Group. The potential final minority investor or investors will be selected “in a timely manner,” Commissioner Monahan wrote.
Maintaining and growing comprehensive player earnings is one of several criteria the TOUR is using in evaluating investors’ proposals. TOUR management also has designed a potential program that would award players equity in the newly formed PGA TOUR Enterprises.
“This would be a unique offering in professional sports, as no other league grants its players/members direct equity ownership in the league’s business,” Commissioner Monahan wrote. “We recognize – as do all of the prospective minority investors who are in dialogue with us – that the PGA TOUR will be stronger with our players more closely aligned with the commercial success of the business.”
In that vein, the Board’s ad hoc committee focused on TOUR governance will move forward at “an accelerated pace.” The Commissioner pointed to Monday’s Board Meeting as another illustration of the vital role the players play in the TOUR’s continued success.
“(The Player Directors’) dedication to every aspect of a very complicated process,” Commissioner Monahan wrote, “will allow us to eventually deliver the most value back to you and drive this organization to new heights.”