Timeline of key events in the merger between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf

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Players reacted with shock, surprise and a sense of betrayal at the news the PGA Tour and DP World Tour had agreed to merge their commercial operations with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.

The stunning announcement came after 12 months of unprecedented disruption in the men's professional game following the launch of LIV's 48-man, 54-hole events.

Here, Planet Sport looks at a timeline of key events.

October 29, 2021 - Former world number one Greg Norman is named the CEO of LIV Golf Investments, a newly-formed company funded by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

February 17, 2022 - Phil Mickelson's motives for potentially joining the breakaway are laid bare in an extract from a new biography of the six-time major winner. Mickelson described the Saudis as "scary mother*******" to deal with and admitted he was aware of their "horrible record on human rights", but was happy to use them to attempt to "reshape" how the PGA Tour operates.

February 20 - Rory McIlroy declares the potential breakaway as "dead in the water" after Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau committed their futures to the PGA Tour.

February 22 - Mickelson apologises for his "reckless" comments and says he will be taking time away from golf.

February 24 - Norman writes an open letter to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, accusing him of "bullying" players with "unenforceable" threats of a lifetime ban if they join a rival league.

March 16 - LIV Golf releases details of seven 48-man, 54-hole invitational events, each with a team and individual competition and a prize fund of 25 million US dollars.

May 11 - Norman pledges to "defend, reimburse and represent" any players sanctioned for playing the LIV events without permission.

May 17 - Tiger Woods says he has a "lot of disagreement" with Mickelson's views on the PGA Tour and stresses: "I believe in legacies. I believe in major championships. I believe in big events, comparisons to historical figures of the past. There's plenty of money out here."

June 1 - Dustin Johnson announces he will compete in the first LIV event at Centurion in Hemel Hempstead, followed five days later by Mickelson.

June 9 - Minutes after play gets underway at Centurion, the PGA Tour suspends those players competing and says the "same fate holds true" for any others who decided to play in future tournaments.

July 21 - Henrik Stenson is announced as LIV's latest signing and is sacked as Europe's Ryder Cup captain.

August 28 - Eleven LIV golfers file an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour. The suit is later taken over by LIV Golf.

August 30 - Open champion Cameron Smith admits he "couldn't ignore" the money on offer after joining LIV Golf.

September 7 - Chief executive Keith Pelley delivers an impassioned defence of the DP World Tour in the face of what he termed the "LIV propaganda machine".

September 11 - Shane Lowry hails his victory in the BMW PGA Championship as "one for the good guys" after 17 LIV players competed at Wentworth.

November 15 - McIlroy calls for Norman to quit as LIV Golf CEO to allow the "adults" to negotiate a peace settlement.

January 23, 2023 - The LIV Golf Invitational Series is renamed the LIV Golf League with a schedule of 14 tournaments.

April 6 - The DP World Tour wins its legal battle against 12 players who committed "serious breaches" of the Tour's code of behaviour by playing in LIV Golf events without permission.

May 12 - Stenson joins Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter in resigning their membership in the wake of further sanctions being imposed by the DP World Tour.

June 6 - The PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) agree to form a new "commercial entity to unify golf".

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