OPINION: Money talks; PGA Tour, LIV will now work together

The Saudi-backed LIV Golf will merge with the PGA Tour, as announced on Tuesday

Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) - The unexpected golf news was stunning. The reason behind the announcement, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised by.

Big-time money in professional sports rules again. Professional golf just happened to be the latest example.

The PGA Tour and commissioner Jay Monahan have been under the microscope for how their reactions to the new rival, Saudi-based, LIV Golf League, for the past year-and-a-half. They have taken the highroad and preached ethics, morals, valuing traditions of the game and growing the game of golf, the “right way”.

All of that seems extremely contradictory with Tuesday’s announcement they would be working together with the same group that funded LIV Golf.


Whether Monahan felt pressure that they couldn’t compete financially, or felt like more players could be considering exiting his Tour, he ultimately grabbed the big payday for what he hopes will be long-term success for the PGA Tour. The details of the end result is still to be determined but he jumped off of his high-moral chair and ultimately chasing the money for his PGA Tour and its players.

Monahan looks extremely bad in this initial announcement because of his contradictory messaging. While there are still many details to come going forward, as of this moment, he betrayed the biggest stars on the PGA Tour.

Players like Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas, all used their power to support him and their fight with LIV over the last year by being extremely vocal, even straining and ending friendships with other players, in order to do what they felt was right. Monahan needed those players on his side, and for him to keep them out of the loop on this major announcement was, maybe, my biggest surprise of all.

For Rory, Rahm and others, to have walked away from $100-plus million deals with LIV and then to be left out of this decision, there lies a huge shock to the news that came out on Tuesday. If Monahan felt this was the decision he had to make, how do you keep those loyal players out of the loop?

As for the faces that are attached to LIV, Phil Mickelson comes out looking very nicely in the end. He has been the most vocal player of all, commenting on how the PGA Tour has not taken care of its star players for years. He has said the Tour could have run better in a variety of ways, which was a big reason for LIV to choose some of the pay structure and formats it did.

While no one involved in Tuesday’s announcement gave any future support for Greg Norman, he, at least, may get some satisfaction in knowing his long desire for a global world tour may actually come about here.

Rory and Tiger Woods have both been vocal about saying that if any collaboration was going to happen between the two sides, Norman needed to be eliminated from the discussions.

It isn’t all bad news. LIV Golf will likely no longer be any threat to the PGA Tour going forward. Financial stability and the ability to pay its biggest stars will also no longer be an issue. The Saudi‘s have plenty of money ready to go around.

The players that chose to stay loyal to the PGA Tour, I would have to believe, will be compensated in some capacity. I think this aspect will be very interesting to watch going forward.

For golf fans, this may ultimately lead to, again, seeing the best players in the world all compete together regularly in the same events on the same tour. Where the money is coming from is probably still going to detour some fans initially to supporting it.

But as we tend to do with all sports, when or if you can get past the money involved, the best players in the world likely all back together, the argument can be made that this could be a long-term win for fans.

Photo credit Losi and Gangi
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