Peter Malnati doubts team model coming to PGA Tour

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While leadership groups of the PGA Tour and LIV Golf are expected to convene this week, with a cordial tone expected, disagreement in at least one area appears to be ahead, according to Golf Digest.

The team play concept that has marked LIV Golf’s short tenure, is not a desired concept by the PGA Tour, at least according to one of the PGA Tour’s directors

Speaking to media Saturday, Peter Malnati expressed reservations about team play being implemented beyond what already exists.

“I don’t know what they’re doing,” Malnati said. “But it seems like a very forced team model, to me. When, at the end of the day, are there any fans that care which team won the tournament? I don’t know what fans of LIV want or care about, but are there any fans that care about who won it?”

Leadership groups of the two tours are expected to meet following the conclusion of the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., according to the report.

Malnati wants clarification on what additional team play would look like in a PGA Tour setting, specifically from negotiating partner Yasir Al-Rumayyan of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

“I mean, that seems so contrived to me,” Malnati said. “I feel like we could also create some contrived team golf something, somewhere outside of the FedEx Cup season.

“But what does he really want is a question that I want to understand better. Because I don’t think it’s some contrived, fake, add up random guys’ scores and call them a team. I don’t think that’s it. I think what he means is more stuff like the Ryder Cup, I would guess, but I have no clue because I haven’t talked to him.”

Golf Digest reported that team play remains one of several bargaining points in a potential deal.

Leaked documents from last year’s framework deal suggest that “PIF, the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour will work together in an effort to determine how best to integrate team golf into PGA Tour and DP World Tour events going forward,” but that agreement was made without PGA Tour player involvement.

Jordan Spieth confirmed player involvement in current negotiations over the weekend. The sides are nearly three months past their original Dec. 31 deadline, but with players resistant to items like team play, having their buy-in would seem to be critical to getting a final deal done.

“I’m not sure that I can say much more other than we’re being encouraged to potentially meet with them,” Spieth said. “We are being encouraged, obviously, which I think is probably a good thing that the entire board should if there’s going to be any potential for a negotiation.”

The PGA Tour player board includes Malnati, Spieth, Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Webb Simpson and Patrick Cantlay. Woods is the director of the group.