The PGA Tour has narrowed its choice of potential investors as it races to meet a December 31 deadline in merger talks involving Saudi Arabia's national wealth fund.
The PGA Tour board - six players and five independent directors - sent an email to players on Sunday afternoon to say Strategic Sports Group, a consortium led by the Fenway Sports Group, was the unanimous choice to further negotiate a potential partnership in the new PGA Tour Enterprises.
The new for-profit company was at the heart of a framework agreement announced June 6 among the PGA Tour, European tour and the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the Saudi financial backers of LIV Golf.
"We also anticipate advancing our negotiations with PIF in the weeks to come," the board said in the email.
"While we can't get into more details at this time, we are very confident in an eventual, positive outcome for all players and the PGA Tour as a whole."
The update comes three days after Masters champion Jon Rahm - for two years a consistent voice against the 54-hole, no-cut rival league - bolted for LIV Golf in a deal that reports put in the neighbourhood of $US500 million ($A760 million).
The agreement includes the December 31 deadline to finalise talks, and tempting Rahm away from the PGA Tour was an indication the PIF has more than enough money to lure away the leading stars if no deal is struck.
"It's a really nice play by them," former world No.1 and PGA Tour player Jordan Spieth said on Friday.
"We hold the best hand, but they know what our hand is. It's a nice leveraging tool with everything going on."
Several private equity groups expressed interest in investing in recent months, and the tour board last month narrowed the group to five, including Fenway Sports Group, Acorn Growth and Liberty Strategic Capital.
The group the board unanimously chose was described as a consortium of American-based professional sports teams, led by Fenway.
Strategic Sports Group includes owners Marc Attanasio (Milwaukee Brewers); Arthur Blank (Atlanta Falcons); Cohen Private Ventures (New York Mets); Wyc Grousbeck (Boston Celtics); Tom Werner and John Henry (Boston Red Sox); Tom Ricketts (Chicago Cubs); and Marc Lasry (Milwaukee Bucks).
Others in the group include Gerry Cardinale, managing partner of Redbird Capital who has ownership in Italian soccer giants AC Milan.
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan had said he would be speaking in person with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of PIF, last week but their meeting was postponed. It was unclear if they would be meeting this week.
PIF is the presenting sponsor of the Saudi Open this week, which concludes the Asian Tour season.
Rahm's signing gives LIV seven of the last 14 winners of major championships, including three of the last five - Rahm, Brooks Koepka (PGA Championship) and Australia's Cameron Smith (2022 British Open).
Australian Associated Press