Spieth dismissed the report that Cantlay was leading the negotiations for the Tour

Jordan Spieth has dispelled the idea that he is part of an alliance with Tiger Woods and Patrick Cantlay on the PGA Tour board as the deadline approaches for the Tour to finalize its framework agreement with Saudi backers LIV Golf, which lured Masters champion Jon Rahm.

This was reported by Sports Illustrated Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund indicated it was prepared not only to put $2 billion into the proposed trade deal as part of the June 6 agreement, but also an additional $1 billion equalization fund for PGA Tour players who turned down lucrative offers of LIV.

Cantlay is also said to have taken control and is negotiating with Woods and Spieth as part of an alliance to protect the interests of the top players. Spieth was recently appointed to complete the term on the board of Rory McIlroy, who resigned last month and who often sparred with Cantlay.

“There’s no fact to it,” Spieth told The Associated Press by phone on Friday. “It’s been very collective since I got involved. It’s not even a thing. We’re looking for the best outcome for the players as a whole and that’s six people (as player directors).”

The Tour has until December 31 to finalize its agreement with the PIF. The agreement, announced June 6, said the deadline could be extended if both sides agreed, although PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said last week Dec. 31 was a “firm target.”

Woods’ agent declined to comment. Cantlay chose not to speak publicly, other than to say he was driven by a responsibility to represent the entire membership.

Cantlay, who won the 2021 FedExCup and was named PGA Tour Player of the Year, is an intellect who can seem aloof. He stood out at the Ryder Cup by not wearing a hat amid reports it was a protest about not being paidwhich he denied.

Spieth said Cantlay could be an easy target because of his personality.

“But he’s very smart and very measured in everything he says,” Spieth said. “He doesn’t mince words, and a lot of times it seems demanding.

“In no way, shape, or form, he controls anything. He wants objectivity when it doesn’t seem like that,” Spieth said. “He, like all of us, agrees. We may disagree on how, when, and why. But our collective duties are to represent the players – deal, no deal, multiple partners.

The many partners include private equity groups that have become part of the negotiations. The Tour is narrowing them down, along with PIF talks, with Acorn Growth and Fenway Sports Group thought to be the leading contenders.

Negotiations became more complicated when Rahm, a PGA Tour stalwart since LIV’s inception, announced Thursday thatad signed with rival league. It was not only a big loss for the PGA Tour, but a reminder that the PIF has the money to grab even more players.

“I don’t think it was the money for him,” Spieth said of Rahm. “I believe he saw two places where neither was in a great situation right now and said, ‘Might as well have the money.’

Monaghan had originally planned to meet Yasir Al-Rumayan, the PIF’s governor, this week. That was postponed until next week, and it was unclear if they would still meet after Ram’s signing.

“Their game is really nice,” Spieth said of the Saudis. “I think we have the best hand, but they know what our hand is. It’s a good leverage tool with everything going on.”

Among those leading Acorn Growth’s efforts to invest in the PGA Tour is Randall Stephenson, the retired AT&T chairman who resigned from the Tour’s board in protest of the Saudi deal.

Spieth has been an ambassador for AT&T for the past decade. McIlroy, meanwhile, has been linked to Fenway Sports Group through its TGL league, which has been postponed until 2025. Woods was appointed to the board four months ago, making it six player directors and five independent directors.

The other player directors are Webb Simpson, Charlie Hoffman and Peter Malnati.

Spieth said he thought the report that Cantlay had taken control of the negotiations was “a lot funnier than I think Pat.”

“I believe he has done more for the PGA Tour in the last six months on board than anyone since Tiger. That’s how great he was for the membership,” Spieth said. “It’s like he’s the biggest problem and that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

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