PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan recently acknowledged his regret for keeping golfers uninformed about the tour’s merger deal with LIV Golf. However, he remains resolute that the deal will be finalized by the end of this year.
Reflecting on his previous actions, Monahan admitted, “I put players on their back foot. That’s something I regret and will not do again.”
In June, the PGA Tour reached an agreement with LIV Golf, a golf league financed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, in an effort to “unify” the sport. LIV Golf emerged in 2021 as a potential rival to the PGA Tour, enticing golfers with lucrative offers to join its league.
Having recently returned from a medical absence due to anxiety-related health issues, Monahan met with players on Tuesday to discuss the PGA-LIV merger. The meeting, held at the TPC Southwind clubhouse, garnered limited attendance, with only 25 players present.
Golfer Rickie Fowler expressed uncertainty about the details surrounding the merger, stating, “There’s still a whole lot that no one really knows, and we don’t know…It’s just continuing to trust that leadership and everyone is doing what’s best for all of us and the tour moving forward.”
On a more positive note, golfer Tom Hoge commented, “It was good just to have Jay there in front of us, see him again and see that he’s doing well…Who knows what the path is going forward? I guess we’ll just wait and see.”
While the PGA Tour commissioner acknowledges his missteps and strives for greater transparency moving forward, the future of the PGA-LIV merger remains uncertain. Golfers and fans alike eagerly await further updates in this evolving narrative.
Regaining Trust in the Face of Criticism
When the highly debated deal between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf was announced, it was met with a wave of criticism from PGA Tour players. Many took to social media to express their concerns, highlighting the apparent hypocrisy of the PGA. They pointed out that while the PGA had previously condemned PIF and LIV Golf for enticing golfers away from the PGA Tour with lucrative offers, they now seemed more than willing to accept the money for themselves. Reports suggest that the proposed Saudi investment in the PGA, still in the midst of negotiations, could exceed a staggering sum of $1 billion.
Jay Monahan, the commissioner of the PGA Tour, however, remains optimistic about repairing the trust that has been fractured. He acknowledges that it may seem like a daunting task at present, but he is confident that there is a clear path to regaining the players’ trust.
While representatives from the PGA Tour have not responded to requests for comments, the matter received attention during a congressional hearing held in July. Jimmy Dunne, a board member of the PGA Tour, and Ron Price, the COO of the PGA Tour, defended the impending deal with LIV Golf and the Saudi wealth fund during the hearing. They emphasized that despite the collaboration, the PGA would maintain control over the sport.
During the hearing, Senators took up significant time discussing human rights abuses committed by the Saudi regime. They accused Saudi Arabia of engaging in “sportswashing,” a term used to describe using sporting events to enhance a tarnished reputation. The U.S. State Department has accused Saudi Arabia of various human rights violations in recent years. These violations include unlawful killings, executions for nonviolent offenses, forced disappearances, torture, and mistreatment of prisoners and detainees by government officials, harsh prison conditions, arbitrary arrest and detention, and targeting political prisoners among other offenses.
From the archives (August 2022): Trump advises golfers to either “take the money” from LIV Golf or face significant consequences.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)