Golf Leaders Ridley & Slumbers Optimistic About Saudi Talks' Positive Impact on the PGA Tour


Golf Leaders Ridley & Slumbers Optimistic About Saudi Talks’ Positive Impact on the PGA Tour

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In the ever-evolving landscape of golf, two influential figures, Martin Slumbers, CEO of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, and Fred Ridley, Augusta National chairman, share their hope and optimism for the future despite their limited involvement in the negotiations between the PGA Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund.

The potential implications of this deal loom large, potentially reshaping the world of golf, but Slumbers and Ridley remain resolute in their belief that the tumultuous period of the last two years will soon come to an end.

Slumbers, although holding a powerful position in the golfing world, acknowledged that he wasn’t directly involved in the talks between the PGA Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund. Nevertheless, he emphasized the paramount importance of ensuring golf’s financial stability, as many top players are currently left in limbo.

He stated, I think it’s very important that the game comes together again. We’ve got too much divisive discussion going on. However it all shapes out, and how the future comes, the game needs to be financially sustainable. There’s nothing worse to me than having a structure that doesn’t create long-term sustainability.

Ridley, who supported collaboration after the disruptive emergence of the LIV Golf tour, agreed that harmony is essential for the sport’s well-being. He stated, “This is not the first time there’s been discord in the sport…and I think that everybody is really trying to do what’s right for the game. We were supportive publicly when this announcement was made back in June…it’s better when we all work together, and it’s better when there’s harmony in the game.

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Both Slumbers and Ridley admitted that the qualification for their events in 2024 was still uncertain. Changes might be considered to accommodate more LIV players, as a world rankings issue has made the path to the world’s best tournaments more challenging.

While denying reports of discussions with LIV about exemptions, Slumbers confirmed that their qualification criteria for The Open at Royal Troon might be adjusted before a February 2024 announcement. He explained, “We are in the process of reviewing our exemptions and conditions of entry for The Open Championship for next year, as we always do. Our conditions are designed to create pathways for the very best players in the world to compete, and that won’t change.”

In the wake of the rankings rejection, LIV star Bryson DeChambeau suggested that the top 12 on LIV’s money list could become exempt for majors. Ridley highlighted the Masters’ willingness to adapt eligibility rules and suggested that changes weren’t anticipated for 2024 but remained a possibility, emphasizing the importance of having the “best players in the world” at Augusta.

Ridley said, “We look at those every year. We don’t make changes every year, but we do look at them under the current circumstances. Last year, there was some speculation as to whether or not we would invite golfers. So while we do not at this time anticipate making a change in 2024, we do always look at them, and we will continue to do that. Our qualifications are very much dynamic, and we adjust to what we feel is in the best interest of the tournament representing the best players in the world.


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