A key golf financial backer has implored the PGA and DP World Tours to break bread with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series.
It comes as Greg Norman’s run LIV Golf Series move closer to securing a broadcaster, with the UK Telegraph reporting that a TV deal is “imminent” after the opening events have been broadcast on YouTube.
The golfing world has been ripped in half in 2022, with some of the sport’s biggest names, including Open champion Cameron Smith, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, joining the rebels.
Indeed, after initial rumblings that only golfers “over the hill” were contemplating leaving the established tours, the dam wall broke as Johnson, Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau ant, most recently, Smith joined the LIV Golf Series.
The US PGA Tour Commissioner, Jay Monahan, responded by issuing bans and deeming them ineligible from last week’s Presidents Cup.
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Monahan’s counterpart at the DP World Tour, Keith Pelley, will wait until February before handing down his sanctions.
In the meantime, Monahan refuses to entertain talking to Norman while the Australian says he no longer has “any interest” in meeting the administrator.
Pelley, meanwhile, has said he would only entertain involvement from the Saudi-backed LIV Series if they acted as a sponsor “within the sport’s ecosystem”.
That’s not good enough according to Johann Rupert, who has invested more than $US100 million into the sport over four decades.
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Rupert, who is chairman of Richemont, a multi-billion dollar Swiss luxury goods maker, has become the first major sponsor to call for the respective tours to stage peace talks with LIV Golf and end the civil war crippling the sport.
The call comes ahead of the Dunhill Links Championship, which takes place at St Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie this week, and reflects a wider held view by many to sort out the mess.
“There needs to be a cessation of hostilities which are threatening the future of the game we all love. People need to talk to each other to find a solution,” a tournament spokesperson from the Old Course told Telegraph Sport.
Yet, any prospect of the rival leagues finding middle ground seems remote, with none of the three parties willing to give an inch.
The high prospect of a media deal coming on board to broadcast LIV Golf will give the rebels a shot in the arm, with the credibility of the tournament questioned since the first event was staged in London in June.
The final event will finish at Trump Doran in Miami at the end of October.