Departing DP World Tour CEO expects PIF deal to be completed by April

DP World Tour

DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley expects a contract to be finalised between the PGA Tour, Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, and the Wentworth-based circuit before he leaves the organisation in April.

When the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour revealed intentions to collaborate with PIF in June of last year, the sports world was taken aback. It was anticipated that the agreement would bring professional golf back together and put an end to the rivalry between the two tours and LIV Golf.

They had originally intended to approve the deal by 31 December 2023, but because the talks took longer than anticipated, the deadline was missed.

The PGA Tour revealed just hours before the deadline that they were still in negotiations with PIF and Strategic Sports Group (SSG), an American investor. Pelley now anticipates that the deal will be finalised within the next three months, notwithstanding the delays.

“We hope to come to a conclusion, and moving that forward is something that is going to be my primary focus over the next three months. I’m definitely staying until April, and I’ve told the PGA Tour and I’ve told representatives from PIF that that is my priority,” Pelley said, as per the Daily Mirror.

“I still believe it. That’s the reason we entered into the framework agreement, and we need to move it forward.”

Pelley will be headed back to his home country of Canada to take up the presidency of NHL franchise Toronto Maple Leafs’ parent company Maple Leafs Sports Entertainment.

He has delayed his departure to ensure that the deal, which he sees as fundamental to securing the future of the professional game, gets over the line.

“I’m definitely not leaving for three months, and that’s the primary reason,” the 60-year-old veteran administrator said.

“I had a conversation with the [DP World Tour] chairman and the nomination committee to stay on to try to bring the framework to a conclusion. Unifying the game is something that I think we all want. If it happens, it would be very gratifying, especially to me.”

Pelley will be replaced by current deputy CEO and Ryder Cup director Guy Kinnings.

“It has been a privilege to work closely with Keith since I joined the Tour in 2018,” Kinnings said.

“He set out to transform the European Tour group, and unquestionably he has done that. It will be a huge honour to take on this role in April and I am immensely proud to have been given this responsibility.

“I will continue to work closely with Keith, Eric and the Board over the next three months to ensure a seamless transition. I look forward to working with our players, staff and partners in the game, as well as our very impressive Executive Leadership and Senior Management Teams, to continue to build upon everything our Tour has achieved in recent years.”