If you didn't think things could get any more turbulent in men's professional golf, then think again, as the PGA Tour announces a "merger" with LIV Golf
A little after 10 am (EST), the PGA Tour dropped the bombshell news that they had reached a landmark agreement with PIF - the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund - to unify men's professional golf. After nearly two years of division, it marked the moment that many didn't see coming, LIV Golf and the PGA and DP World Tours forming an alliance.
The irony is not lost on the fact that this announcement was made on Women's Golf Day, the global celebration of women's golf. Throughout this whole debacle, player news and tour updates from LIV Golf would often fall during a women's Major or like this week, when all eyes should be on the innovative Scandinavian Mixed event.
Breaking news on social media
Instantly after the announcement, my Twitter feed lit up, but it wasn't just golf fans and news outlets that were trying to wrap their heads around what had just happened. It was the players too with two-time Major Champion Collin Morikawa tweeting:
"I love finding out morning news on Twitter."
Whilst PGA Tour and DP World Tour member Tyrrell Hatton said it simply with a gif:
The players on the PGA Tour had received an email giving them details for this "merger" but only landing in their inboxes moments before the global announcement was made:
What we know so far...
The above sets out a "framework agreement" which will see huge investment into men's professional golf by PIF, which includes the rights to LIV Golf.
Here's a look at some of the main points:
- Any current lawsuits between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV golf will be ended.
- PIF will make a capital investment into the new combined entity (yet to be named) as part of the agreement "to facilitate its growth and success".
- LIV Golf will be evaluated to see "how best to integrate team golf into the professional game".
- Current LIV golfers, who were suspended by the PGA and DP World Tours (many resigning memberships) will have a pathway back into these Tours (yet to be disclosed).
- LIV Golf's 2023 season will continue as planned.
Congratulatory voices were hard to find and it appears that even Greg Norman only found out the morning of the announcement, where he sits in the future of this alliance remains to be seen.
How does Jay Monahan sleep at night...
Maybe the biggest question to come out of all of this was about the PGA Tour commissioner himself - Jay Monahan faced a room of PGA Tour players at the RBC Canadian Open at 4pm. How can someone use the victims and the families of 911 to urge players not to join LIV, then come out and say:
"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 the game, but also a commitment to taking it to new heights. This will engender a new era in global golf, for the better."
It's still too early to know what is yet to come. With players blindsided, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods eerily quiet, fans left wondering why they had to pick a side if this had always been the plan.
As it stands, after less than 24 hours from the announcement it feels that men's professional golf won't be the same again. All the talk around morality, as it always does in sport, it came down to cold hard cash. Money and $$$ was always what it was about and when you have an endless supply of it, you can set up a rival tour, shake things up and then "buy" the asset that you wanted in the first place.
What a day... more to follow.