Who Is Ed Herlihy? PGA Tour Chairman Involved In Historic PIF Deal

 Ed Herlihy during the 2009 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at Carnoustie
Ed Herlihy during the 2009 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at Carnoustie

As the ramifications begin to sink in on the historic deal that has seen the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and the financial backer of LIV Golf, the Saudi Public Investment Fund, join forces to create a new entity to drive the game, details have begun to emerge on exactly how it came about – and the personnel involved.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is one key player, while DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley would have been another. Meanwhile, on the PIF side, its governor Yassir Al-Rumayyan was also heavily involved, and is poised to become a leading figure in the game going forward.

Such was the secrecy of the deal, that even minutes before it was announced few would have predicted any kind of agreement with the PIF was imminent after months of hostility towards LIV Golf. So, who else was pivotal in getting the PGA Tour, in particular, round the table with the Saudis?

PGA Tour board member Jimmy Dunne is one, while another is policy board chairman Ed Herlihy. The Glen Falls, New York native left high school in 1965 and went on to study at Hobart College, where he graduated in 1969, before attending George Washington University Law School, which he left in 1972.

After beginning his working life as a staff attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission, he has gone on to forge a reputation as one of the country’s most formidable mergers and acquisitions attorneys. That reputation  accelerated after he joined New York law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, where he remains co-chairman.

In particular, he had an important role during the 2008 financial crisis, when a team led by Herlihy advised on deals to the tune of over $73bn, including Bank of America’s $44.7bn acquisition of Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo’s buyout of Wachovia.

Given that background, is it any wonder Monahan leaned on Herlihy to help strike a deal with the PIF, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, which is thought to hold assets north of $650bn?

It’s not just Herlihy's business ability that likely helped his appointment at the PGA Tour. He is a keen golfer too, and has held memberships at both Augusta National and Deepdale Golf Club on Long Island.

Like fellow board member Dunne, Herlihy has been credited by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan as playing a key role in agreeing the deal with PIF. He said: “There were two prominent Policy Board members that sat side by side with me, our chairman Ed Herlihy as well as Jimmy Dunne, and ultimately we got to the point where we finalized everything.”

Herlihy is expected to retain his position as policy board chairman of the PGA Tour following the announcement.

Ed Herlihy: Key Facts

  • Ed Herlihy is the chairman of the PGA Tour

  • He is a native of Glen Falls, New York

  • After leaving high school in 1965, Herlihy attended Hobart College until 1969 then George Washington University Law School until 1972

  • Herlihy built a reputation as one of the top mergers and acquisitions attorneys in the country at the New York law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, who he joined in 1984

  • He is currently co-chairman of the firm

  • In the 2008 financial crisis, a Herlihy-led team advised on over $73bn of deals, including Bank of America’s $44.7 billion acquisition of Merrill Lynch

  • One of his areas of expertise is representing companies involved in takeover battles and proxy contests

  • He is a keen golfer and a member of Augusta National

  • He’s poised to retain his role as policy board chairman of the PGA Tour following the deal with PIF