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Energy dealer Jimmy Dunne helped spark negotiations in PGA, LIV merger

  • The PGA Tour’s commissioners Jay Monahan and Yasir Al-Rumayyan introduced in an interview that the PGA Tour and the LIV Golf league was merging on June 6, 2023.
  • Jimmy Dunne, an influence dealer in golf and on Wall Road, was allegedly instrumental in bringing the 2 league heads to the negotiating desk.
  • Dunne instructed PGA golfer Rory McElroy in regards to the merger about 4 hours earlier than it was introduced, and ran him by way of the main points.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, sat beside one another throughout a CNBC interview carrying snug smiles of longtime mates.

That was one among many surprises.

They introduced a blockbuster industrial partnership that appeared so unfathomable just a few months in the past as a result of they had been adversaries within the bitter antitrust lawsuit initiated by Saudi-funded LIV Golf — and since two months in the past, that they had by no means even met.

What introduced them collectively in a roundabout approach was Monahan appointing Jimmy Dunne — an influence dealer in golf and on Wall Road with a private connection to the Sept. 11 terrorist assaults — to the PGA Tour board of administrators final fall.

It was Dunne and Ed Herlihy, chairman of the PGA Tour coverage board, whom Monahan leaned on to set his first assembly with Al-Rumayyan a short while after the Masters.

They had been the one PGA Tour principals concerned within the deal that joins the industrial enterprise of the PGA Tour, European tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Funding Fund in a for-profit entity that for now goes by “Newco” — new firm.

A part of the deal is ending all litigation.


“I got here to the desk not being snug with criticism why we did not meet with them,” Dunne stated. “For those who have a look at what occurred (with LIV), we’d by no means have achieved something they did. We’d by no means have employed Greg Norman. We’d by no means have him fly to an occasion in a parachute. We’d by no means have achieved so a lot of this stuff.

“What does that inform me? That I do not know what they’re pondering,” Dunne stated. “And when you don’t have any thought what an adversary is pondering, I need to ask them, not their legal professionals. I need to ask them immediately.”

Herlihy, a New York lawyer, is the chairman of the PGA Tour board, and for almost 40 years a accomplice at Wachtell, Lipton, Rose & Katz. His focus is mergers and acquisitions of banks and monetary establishments.

“The primary dialog that I used to be not part of was what was a very powerful dialog due to the place I have been in and what we have been attempting to do with our tour,” Monahan stated. “I wished to rely closely on these two nice gents to have that first dialog.

“However after they got here again and stated it was a constructive dialog and that I ought to have a follow-up assembly, I feel that is when issues began to develop.”

That Dunne could be arranging the assembly is telling.

Only a 12 months in the past, when LIV Golf held its first 54-hole occasion outdoors London, Monahan was interviewed on CBS in the course of the Canadian Open. He was requested in regards to the Sept. 11 terrorist assaults and the hyperlinks to Saudi Arabia.

“I’d ask any participant who left (for LIV), or any participant who would ever think about leaving, have you ever ever needed to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?” Monahan stated.

For Dunne, it is deeply private.

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Eire, hits from the fourth tee of the Spyglass Hill Golf Course on Feb. 8, 2018, in Pebble Seashore, California. Wanting on from left are Tim Mickelson, Phil Mickelson, and Jimmy Dunne III. Dunne was instrumental in getting (AP Picture/Eric Risberg, Information / Related Press)

Dunne is an effective golfer, a member at Augusta Nationwide and Shinnecock Hills, the president of Seminole Golf Membership. Throughout a telephone interview Wednesday, Jon Rahm and Lee Trevino had been amongst these attempting to achieve him. Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler have stayed at his home.

He started working at Bear Stearns earlier than co-founding the funding banking agency of Sandler O’Neill & Companions (now Piper Sandler). The agency previously was situated on the 104th flooring within the south tower of the World Commerce Heart.

Dunne was attempting to qualify for the US Mid-Newbie on Sept. 11, 2001. He misplaced 66 workers that day. He would not neglect, nor does he select to speak about it now. As he stated to Sports activities Illustrated final 12 months, “I’d not be the fairest choose of Saudi involvement” in LIV due to the chums and colleagues who perished.

Dunne was all about discovering options, and the PGA Tour was in want of solutions.


Monahan stated reshaping this 12 months’s schedule with 13 “designated occasions” averaging $20 million in prize cash compelled the tour to dip into its reserves, and there have been questions how lengthy this may very well be sustained.

“Between our reserves, the authorized charges, our underpin and our dedication to the DP World Tour and their authorized charges, it has been vital,” Monahan stated.

Rory McIlroy, one among 5 player-directors for the PGA Tour board, wasn’t conscious of the deal till Dunne referred to as him about 6:30 am Tuesday — some 4 hours earlier than it was to be introduced — and walked him by way of the main points.

“From what I gathered, the tour felt they had been in an actual place of energy coming off of the again of the DP World Tour profitable their authorized case in London. It kind of weakened the opposite facet’s place,” McIlroy stated.

“And so they went in there, and the way in which Jimmy described it: ‘Rory, typically you bought 280 over water, you simply obtained to go for it.’ And that is what they did.”

Dunne stated he has been in Monahan’s ear in regards to the tour a minimum of speaking to the Saudis — not Monahan at first, however Dunne or Herlihy, or maybe somebody from the European tour (DP World Tour is the industrial identify).

“After the Masters we determined — we had gained a bunch of instances — let’s discover out what they’re all about,” Dunne stated.


In coping with a gaggle that is technique was to outspend, the target was to unite golf below one umbrella with Monahan in cost and finish the litigation that was costing tens of millions.

PIF’s enterprise contains LIV Golf, which is now below the umbrella of the brand new firm — Monahan is the CEO, al-Rumayyan is the chairman, Dunne and Herlihy be a part of them on the manager committee.

That is what led McIlroy to say on Wednesday, “Technically anybody that’s concerned with LIV now would reply to Jay. So the PGA Tour has management of all the pieces.”

It is lots to digest. Monahan has to work by way of credibility points after spending a 12 months combating a rival that’s now his accomplice, after which dropping the information with out warning.

“Circumstances change, and so they’ve been altering lots over the past couple years,” Monahan stated. After which it hit warp velocity, beginning with Dunne and Herlihy.


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