Liverpool FC owner John Henry and investor Gerry Cardinale are in advanced talks with the PGA Tour about investing in a major restructuring of the men’s professional game.
Henry and Cardinale are part of Strategic Sports Group, which has emerged as another source of funding as the PGA Tour’s talks with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, backer of rival LIV Golf, continue to drag on.
The PGA Tour said, however, that it still expected to progress negotiations with PIF, having announced in June that they had reached an outline agreement to consolidate their assets under a single new brand.
“The PGA Tour Policy Board has unanimously selected an outside investment group to further negotiate with as talks with the PIF continue to progress,” it said.
“The decision to advance discussions with Strategic Sports Group (SSG) was announced Sunday in a memo to Tour members. The update followed a series of Policy Board meetings over the past several days that featured a thorough review of the “extremely strong” final proposals submitted by several outside investors.”
In the memo to players, the tour added: “We also anticipate advancing our negotiations with PIF in the weeks to come. Further, the DP World Tour [formerly European Tour] will continue to be an important part of the process as we build toward PGA Tour Enterprises.”
Henry is the founder and principal owner of Fenway Sports Group, which has owned Liverpool since 2010 and also owns baseball’s Boston Red Sox. FSG and its chairman Tom Werner and president Mike Gordon are also part of SSG.
Cardinale is the founder and managing partner of RedBird Capital Partners, which is a minority investor in Liverpool and also owns European football clubs AC Milan and Toulouse.
The former Goldman Sachs banker is also part of RedBird IMI, a joint vehicle with Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan which is involved in a takeover battle for the Telegraph Media Group.
SGS is comprised of US sport investors drawn from the NFL, in Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, the NBA, including Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck and Marc Lasry, former owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, and MLB, including New York Mets owner Steven A Cohen, Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio.
It comes at what is perceived to be a delicate stage in peace talks between the PGA Tour and PIF, which also owns Newcastle United.
LIV Golf last week announced the $300m signing of world No2 Jon Rahm in a move seen as further strengthening PIF’s bargaining position with the PGA Tour.