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PGA Tour's Alliance with Saudi Arabia’s LIV Golf: Pragmatic Financial Solution or Cowardly Hypocrisy

The PGA Tour's Commissioner, Jay Monahan, addressed the organization's employees during a meeting last Thursday, revealing that the financial strain of their legal battle against Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) was no longer sustainable.

Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) pockets are simply too fat.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that Monahan emphasized the difficulty of competing with a foreign government possessing limitless funds, especially as the PGA Tour aimed to prevent players from defecting to the rival LIV Golf League.

The meeting took place at the PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, just two days after the surprise announcement of an alliance between the PGA Tour, the Public Investment Fund, and DP World Tour.

This collaboration marked the creation of a new for-profit entity, set to significantly transform the landscape of men's professional golf worldwide.

The Sober Truth

"We cannot compete with a foreign government with unlimited money," Monahan expressed, as stated in the Wall Street Journal report.

He further explained that the timing of the deal was crucial, allowing the PGA Tour to negotiate from a position of strength.

Notably, the PGA Tour had already exhausted $50 million on legal fees and dipped into its reserves of $100 million to support increased purses and bonuses for players in major events.

While some viewed the agreement as a response to mounting litigation costs and the utilization of reserves, a PGA Tour spokesperson clarified that it was an oversimplification.

They highlighted the increased value of the PGA Tour as a result of the unified golf landscape and the recognition of this value by the Public Investment Fund, which would yield returns on their investment.

The spokesperson also emphasized that the transaction would enhance the competitiveness of professional golf compared to other sports and leagues.

An ‘unwinnable’ battle?

According to sources, the PGA Tour carries insurance to cover a portion of its growing legal fees.

The spokesperson confirmed that the tour had likely expended "tens of millions of dollars" on legal expenses, as it fought against LIV Golf's federal antitrust lawsuit and defended itself in an antitrust investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

This recent agreement successfully resolved all legal disputes between the PGA Tour and the Public Investment Fund, averting the potential for exorbitant legal fees surpassing $100 million, and had the federal antitrust lawsuit prolonged due to discovery disputes and appeals.

Geoff Ogilvy, a longstanding PGA Tour member, and the 2006 U.S. Open champion expressed his belief that this outcome was the intended plan of the Public Investment Fund all along.

Ogilvy suggested that LIV Golf had strategically employed its significant financial resources, making it challenging for the PGA Tour to sustain a lengthy legal battle.

He characterized the situation as an unfair fight, with the opponent capable of dragging out legal proceedings to drain the PGA Tour's finances.

Rory McIlroy, a four-time major champion and prominent advocate for the PGA Tour during its conflict with LIV Golf, acknowledged the reality that the PGA Tour couldn't outspend the Public Investment Fund.

McIlroy stated that regardless of personal preferences, the PIF would continue investing in golf.

He noted that the PGA Tour now had the ability to oversee the allocation of those funds, presenting a preferable scenario when considering the immense financial influence of one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds.

In response to LIV Golf successfully enticing over 30 PGA Tour players, including renowned champions like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, and Bryson DeChambeau, with lucrative guaranteed contracts worth up to $200 million, the PGA Tour promptly increased its own purses by $100 million for the 2022 season.

Additionally, they doubled the bonuses under the Player Impact Program to $100 million for the top 20 golfers.

Monohan’s Snaky 9/11 Hypocrisy

Since the announcement of the new alliance, Commissioner Monahan, and the PGA Tour, have faced criticism from human rights organizations, including Amnesty International.

While LIV Golf and its players celebrate, PGA Tour officials face compromised credibility.

Disgruntled players who supported the tour expressed anger and disappointment.

Remember, Tiger Woods turned down nearly $1 billion from the human rights abusers backing LIV Golf to keep his loyalty to the PGA Tour, only to be backstabbed.

9/11 Families United condemned the alliance, accusing PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan of betraying their cause.

Here’s an excerpt from their public statement,

“Mr. Monahan talked last summer about knowing people who lost loved ones on 9/11, then wondered aloud on national television whether LIV Golfers ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour. They do now — as does he. PGA Tour leaders should be ashamed of their hypocrisy and greed. Our entire 9/11 community has been betrayed by Commissioner Monahan and the PGA as it appears their concern for our loved ones was merely window-dressing in their quest for money — it was never to honor the great game of golf.”

Chair Terry Strada denounces Monahan and PGA Tour leaders for prioritizing money over honoring the victims.

In case you forgot, 15 of the 19 hijackers in 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, which is still one of the biggest state sponsors of terrorism worldwide, whether the U.S. government wants to admit it or not.

Earlier this year, MBS approved the mass execution of 81 people including Syrians and Yemenis for alleged terrorist charges and other “deviant beliefs”.

Hypocrisy and greed have tainted PGA Tour's actions, leaving the community feeling betrayed.

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