As part of their separation, they also demanded remuneration of $441,355 from the PGA, money it claimed was theirs from years of revenue they had helped produce through tournament play. The PGA stated the players had no claim to the money and there was no provision for the players to operate independent of the PGA. They could separate, but going it on their own was out of the question. Consequently, the organization’s compromise was that the players continue to function under the PGA flag—as the Tournament Players Division—at the cost of a 15-percent annual royalty for the use of its name. The expenses associated with the affiliation was another reason they formed the APG. The APG was no bluff.
When the PGA realized it might lose the players, the negotiations began, with attorney Samuel Gates representing the players and William Rogers taking up for the PGA. When the two sides finally settled things, on the surface, it looked like the players lost based on everything it didn’t get in the settlement. But it was a pyrrhic victory, at best, for the PGA. The players got what they primarily wanted—freedom—despite not getting the $441,355. The PGA pointed out that players who had retired were responsible for producing a portion of the nearly half-million dollars and that there was no way, the organization argued, that anybody could determine what slice of the amount came from players still playing in 1968. A hundred grand? Two-hundred?
Or, as it turned out, nothing.
Gates did continue to negotiate for $122,659 the Tournament Players Division had earned in 1968, money Gates could prove did come because of his clients. That amount, too, came with a hitch. As the players threatened separation from the PGA, the PGA hired Rogers to represent the organization in its fight, and it used Tournament Players Division funds to pay his fee and to offset losses from the Alameda Open, a hedge-its-bet tournament the PGA scheduled to take place opposite the APG’s first 1969 tournament, the Los Angeles Open. Total legal and tournament costs reached $203,659, leaving the players not with $144,000 and change but a deficit of $71,000.
By October, the PGA’s independent directors made a decision and prevailed upon the PGA to not saddle the players with debt and encouraged it to pay the players a decided-on amount of $67,500, a little more than half what the players demanded. The PGA balked, and eventually the two parties compromised, the players receiving $33,750. The two sides also agreed to an annual royalty payment to the PGA of seven percent.
Despite the one-sided nature of the settlement, the players walked away reasonably happy, now possessing the autonomy they desired all along.
Their first season as strictly a touring-professionals organization came in 1969. At last, they were part of a separate organization even though they were still under the PGA of America umbrella. They were making money just for themselves, with only minimal sharing. No, they weren’t the PGA TOUR yet; that would come later. Yet, firm building blocks were in place. Meanwhile, the APG—fun while it lasted—ended up on the scrap heap of history.