DP World Tour's Guy Kinnings feels changes won’t come till 2026

motorsport26 April 2024 21:55| © Reuters
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DP World Tour CEO Guy Kinnings told reporters on Thursday in London that a potential reshaping of men's professional golf is not likely to occur until 2026 at the earliest.

Kinnings took over at the tour, formerly called the European Tour, earlier this month after Keith Pelley left for a role with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.

Kinnings told the select group of British and Irish reporters that the leaders of the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund have spoken over recent months – but not while in the same room, around the same table.

"Has there been a big negotiation where all the parties have sat round and talked about the future product? I don't think that meeting's happened yet," Kinnings said.

That shock comes nearly 11 months after the three parties stunned the sports world by announcing a "framework agreement" for a merger. The PIF had been bankrolling the LIV Golf League and paying massive guarantees to players to peel them away from the PGA and European tours.

"All I know now, because I have actually directly been involved in it, is there's a lot of work going on in terms of looking at a working plan, so there is significantly more momentum than there was," Kinnings said.

"There is an intent to get the right people in the room. And it's no different from what you need to do in business – don't leave until you've got a deal done."

Kinnings then said he doesn't see any tour shifting their schedules in 2025.

"If you could get a resolution now, maybe you could do some stuff towards the end of ‘25, but the reality is the ‘26 season needs to be the one where there are significant changes," Kinnings said.

The CEO said he was not trying to set hard and fast deadlines, but he believes the different tours will need to take 2025 to prepare in order to get it "right".

Kinnings also mentioned the PGA Tour's separate business partnership with the Strategic Sports Group, a consortium of US-based sports owners led by the Fenway Sports Group that owns the Boston Red Sox, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Liverpool of the English Premier League.

"It's a joint exercise," Kinnings said of negotiations. "So practically, we are being listened to. I have dealt with the guys at Fenway, who were fascinated by the history of the DP World Tour and our internationalising of the game. They know that we have the relationships around the world. We've built them for 50 years.

"Plus, two of the biggest financial institutions in the world want to invest in golf. Rory (McIlroy) put it best when he said we need to find a way for them to do that. They clearly think golf works for them. Otherwise they wouldn't be putting money in. So it's our job to give them something that works for them and for the fans. We need to look forward, not back."