EPILOGUE: The leaders of the North American circuit, very critical of this new dissident Tour, ended up capitulating to the financial power of the latter
This is a deal that no one saw coming. The North American PGA and European DP World Tour will merge with the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV, whose emergence had fractured the golf world. The PGA Tour said on Tuesday it had “signed an agreement that combines the commercial activities and rights” of the powerful Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund (Pif) in golf, with its own and those of the DP World Tour “in a new for-profit entity owned collectively”, without the financial details being disclosed.
“After two years of disruption and distractions, this is a historic day for the sport we all love,” said PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan, who will serve as chief executive of the new structure, whose name remains to be announced. to unveil. The legal battle between the two parties will therefore end with this agreement, which should “generate a new era in world golf, for the better”, according to Monahan, who had nevertheless been at the forefront of the fight against LIV.
Surprise and anger
Launched in October 2021, this circuit has since attracted some of the best golfers in the world, former world number 1 and Grand Slam winners, such as Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson. “It’s a fantastic day today,” he tweeted.
The PGA Tour, whose stars Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods had risen to the media front, had provided a firm response, excluding the dozens of golfers concerned, prohibiting them from participating in its tournaments. And it is clear that its members were taken aback by this announcement made on Tuesday, almost a year to the day after the first LIV-stamped tournament played in London.
Some, in a fit of anger, were quick to castigate the “hypocrisy” they say Monahan has shown in the matter, during a meeting held in Toronto on Tuesday, ahead of the Canada Open, reported several media. “Hypocrisy and greed” were also the words used by a group representing the families of the victims of the attacks of 11th September 2001, towards the leader and his authority, considering themselves “betrayed, because it appears that their concern for our relatives was only a facade in their quest for money”. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers in the attacks were Saudi citizens.
“I recognize that people will call me a hypocrite,” admitted the person concerned during a conference call on Tuesday evening. “I accept these criticisms, but the circumstances are changing. I think looking at the bigger picture is where we got to this. »
Lost financial arm wrestling
A “situation” linked to an economic reality. Because the PGA, which also tried to arm wrestle on the sums offered to keep its best players, against the LIV and its record endowments of 25 million dollars per event, clearly had more to lose defending its own interests, against the unlimited Saudi funds, only to enlarge them with a common entity.
With LIV now sharing the same clubhouse as the PGA, it’s further evidence of Saudi Arabia’s massive multimillion-dollar sports offensive under Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. It is not Karim Benzema who will say the opposite.