‘Money over Morals’: PGA Tour Faces Intense Backlash Amid LIV Merger

Jay Monahan
Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

The sports world received the shock of the year on Tuesday after it was announced that the PGA Tour, LIV Golf, and the European PGA Tour would all merge into one giant for-profit golf league.

PGA Tour President Jay Monahan issued a lengthy statement announcing the deal:

After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love. This transformational partnership recognizes the immeasurable strength of the PGA TOUR’s history, legacy and pro-competitive model and combines with it the DP World Tour and LIV – including the team golf concept – to create an organization that will benefit golf’s players, commercial and charitable partners and fans.  Going forward, fans can be confident that we will, collectively, deliver on the promise we’ve always made – to promote competition of the best in professional golf and that we are committed to securing and driving the game’s future.

We are pleased to move forward, in step with LIV and PIF’s world-class investing experience, and I applaud PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan for his vision and collaborative and forward-thinking approach that is not just a solution to the rift in our game, but also a commitment to taking it to new heights. This will engender a new era in global golf, for the better.

Quite a departure from June of last year when Monahan alluded to Saudi involvement in the 9/11 attacks and asked players to consider that before bolting the PGA Tour for the Saudi-backed league.

“I have two families that are close to me that lost loved ones,” Monahan said at the RBC Canadian Open. “My heart goes out to them, and I would ask that any player that has left, or that would ever consider leaving, have you ever had to apologise for being a member of the PGA Tour?”

That stark reversal brought many on Twitter to conclude that in the battle between tainted Saudi “blood money” and the PGA Tour, blood money had won.

Others saw it as a win for the LIV players who bolted the PGA Tour.

Either way, very few saw it as a win for the PGA Tour.

Ultimately, the Saudi-backed LIV had stolen most of the best players in the game, they had already spent $2 billion and planned to spend much more, and they had all the creative ideas for changing the game. Money and ideas rule the world, and that’s why the Chairman of the yet-to-be-named newly merged PGA Tour-LIV Golf League is the head of the Saudi investment Public Investment Fund that runs LIV.

Jay Monahan will be the CEO of the new league. But again, the Saudis have the money and the ideas, so ultimately, they’ll call the shots.

Some think this will end up being a good thing for golf, and perhaps it will. But, Monahan’s allusion to 9/11 and accusing the Saudis of peddling blood money (though that could be true) and accepting this deal, is an extremely bad look.

We now know that the reason this merger took a year was not because the PGA Tour was rejecting the Saudis’ “blood money.” It took a year because the PGA Tour was trying to get as much of that blood money as they could.


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