Rory McIlroy speaks to the media about the deal merging the PGA Tour and European tour with Saudi Arabia's golf interests at the Canadian Open golf tournament in Toronto on Wednesday, June 7, 2023. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

The PGA Tour and LIV Golf Merger, Reactions

The PGA Tour and LIV Golf, a Saudi-investment-team-funded tour, have agreed to merge.

LIV & PGA Relation

LIV Golf is (well, was) the PGA Tour’s competitor. When LIV was searching for players, they were giving players of the PGA Tour a vast amount of money so that they would join their tour.

The investment team gave away so much money, LIV was seen as buying its way into the golf industry.

Why the Controversy?

Some are of the belief that the Saudi Investment team behind LIV Golf is handing out so much money not only to buy there way into the Golf industry, but also to influence golf fans to see past human rights issues.

LIV Golf is being accused of “sportswash,” using sports to cleanse an image and launder a reputation.

The Reaction

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach said he did not find out about the merge until slightly before the announcement. He said he called three players immediately and they were all unaware of the new deal.

Schlabach added that even agents of high profile LIV Golf players was unaware.

So, clearly, communication has been an issue surrounding this major change for the sport. That could be part of the reason there’s been such a volatile reaction.

Schlabach said the deal itself is slightly complicated, but that it is a framework deal and is still awaiting finalization. The deal consists of three tours; the PGA, LIV, Saudi Arabia’s investment fund and DP Tour, formerly known as the European Tour.

They’ve agreed to “form a partnership and create a for profit entity that will oversee the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and the LIV Golf League.”

Why Did the PGA Partner With LIV?

Eleven LIV Golfers filed a federal anti-trust lawsuit against the PGA Tour in August.

Therefore, with this partnership occurring, all of the legal action has disappeared. Sources have reported that the PGA Tour has spent millions in legal fees.

What Does the Merge Mean For the Players?

Some of the players have reportedly refused to take the money from LIV because it is “blood money.” And now, the players who refused the money are now going to be playing alongside the golfers who did take the so-called “blood money.”

The PGA Tour will now have to distinguish how to make the golfers who turned the money “financially whole,” Schalbach said.

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