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06th Jun 2023

Professional golf takes the money and runs as PGA Tour and LIV Golf merge

Patrick McCarry

As callow and money-hungry as you can get.

Golf’s uncivil war is over, less than two years after it started, as the PGA and DP World Tours have agreed to merge with breakaway entity, LIV Golf.

A joint press release has, this afternoon, confirmed the PGA and DP World tours had reached ‘a landmark agreement to unify the game of golf’. PIF, funded by Saudi Arabia, started up LIV Golf in 2021 and coaxed over many of golf’s top stars, including Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Cameron Smith.

While no name has been settled on the new entity, after this merger, there is already a huge dollop of media spin on how this will benefit the golfing world.

The same PGA Tour that claimed LIV Golf was setting out to destroy everything it had built, and was all about, is now behind a hideous press release declaring LIV as “groundbreaking”. Importantly, too, all litigation that had been flying around between rival tours and players is now to cease. All parties, we are told, ‘will work together to best feature and grow team golf going forward’.

In short, and in my opinion, the PGA and DP World Tours have put their outrage and sense of morals to one side and chose to bow down to those in control of the PIF purse-strings. In return, the PGA and DP tours will now get the likes of Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Pat Perez back in the fold.

“After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.

“This transformational partnership recognises 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 organsation 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.”

LIV golf

‘Energising and exciting’ as LIV Golf trumpeted

As they are funding a lot of this new, unnamed entity, the PIF folks were awarded the same press release to toot their horn about the success of LIV Golf, which could not find any channel in the United States to pay to show the events.

“There is no question that the LIV model has been positively transformative for golf,” proclaimed PIF Governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan.

“We believe there are opportunities for the game to evolve while also maintaining its storied history and tradition. This partnership represents the best opportunity to extend and increase the impact of golf for all. We look forward to collaborating with Jay and Keith to bring the best version of the game to communities around the world.”

Not to be forgotten, as they so often are, the DP World Tour got in on the back-slapping press release. Keith Pelley, the tour’s chief executive, said,

“This is a momentous day. We are delighted to be able to not only reignite our relationship with PIF, but also to have the opportunity to build on our current Strategic Alliance partnership with the PGA Tour. Together we will be stronger than ever and well positioned to continue to bring the game to all corners of the globe. To partner in this new entity and influence the growth of the game for all our DP World Tour members is energising and exciting.”

So, the organisation that wanted to poach the very best golfers in the world from the long-established European and American tours now wants harmony.

It is a big day for all involved in those top executive positions as they will be set for handsome rewards.

It is a dreadful day for golf, though, as it goes full-out to help sports-wash for a Gulf State with highly questionable and egregious human rights issues.

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