The historic alliance announced Friday between the PGA Tour and European Tour came after months of tense negotiations, and fended off a rival bid to take a stake in the European circuit by the private equity group fronting the Premier Golf League, multiple sources have confirmed to Golfweek.
The announced partnership includes collaboration on issues like media, playing opportunities, scheduling and prize funds and is widely seen as the first step toward an eventual merger of the two bodies.
Negotiations between the world’s two largest professional golf circuits had been taking place for months but had been complicated by a rival proposal submitted to the European Tour by The Raine Group, a private equity firm that has fronted the proposed Premier Golf League. The PGL concept—a breakaway circuit featuring brand-name players in highly-lucrative, limited-field tournaments with a team element—emerged in public earlier this year.
The proposed splinter Tour was dealt a blow in March when Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka — at the time the top three ranked players in the world — all publicly rejected the PGL, with McIlroy saying he objected to its source of financing,…