After more than a year of standing on the moral high ground and tsk-tsking LIV Golf for financing its new-look golf circuit with billions in “blood money” from Saudi Arabia’s massive sovereign wealth fund, the PGA Tour has agreed to merge with its competition and give up its non-profit status to form a for-profit global entity. First reported by CNBC, the deal will also end all pending litigation between the two sides.
Under the terms of the agreement, which also includes Europe’s DP World Tour, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) will make a significant investment in the new venture. LIV golfers who were suspended for joining the upstart league will be allowed to re-apply for membership into the PGA Tour and DP World Tour following the 2023 season under “a fair and objective process consistent with each Tour’s policies.”
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“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 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. 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.”
Understandably, news of the merger led to many pointing out the outright hypocrisy of the PGA Tour dumping on LIV for months before simply taking the Saudi money and putting out a press release.
Golf fans and media members weren’t the only ones who were stunned by the announcement of the merger, as it appears that Monahan neglected to inform players on the PGA Tour that they would be reuniting with their former colleagues who defected to LIV. That may be because many of them will be fairly angry they didn’t just simply take the guaranteed paydays LIV was offering last summer if the two rival circuits were going to become one entity anyhow. Tiger Woods, who reportedly rejected $800 million to join LIV, should be especially furious.
More details about the merger, including the official name of the new entity, should be coming soon.