Golf World Reacts to the PGA Tour – LIV Golf Merger

The golf world was shocked by news of the pending PGA Tour LIV Golf merger that was announced on June 6th but what made the sudden announcement especially odd was that players from both tours learned of the news at essentially the same time as the rest of us. 

Out of nowhere, the PGA Tour issued a press release that read: “The PGA TOUR, DP World Tour, and the Public Investment Fund (PIF) today announced a landmark agreement to unify the game of golf, on a global basis. The parties have signed an agreement that combines PIF’s golf-related commercial businesses and rights (including LIV Golf) with the commercial businesses and rights of the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour into a new, collectively owned, for-profit entity to ensure that all stakeholders benefit from a model that delivers maximum excitement and competition among the game’s best players.”

Typically in professional sports, the casual fan is the last to learn of significant breaking news that impacts their favorite team or player.  But in the case of the LIV Golf PGA Tour merger, nearly all of professional golf was kept out of the loop and unaware of the months-long negotiations between the two tours.

Before the announcement, it was widely believed that any relationship between the PGA Tour Championships and LIV Golf could be considered icy at best with each side dug in and ready to defend themselves in the court of law.  These circumstances made the breaking news of the announcement all that more surprising even for the tour’s best players.  

As June 6th unfolded, we started to learn of PGA Tour player’s reactions and it quickly became clear they were stunned by the news.  The immediate reaction on social media was an entertaining combination of shock and humor




But as more PGA Tour player reactions came to light, it became clear they were angry and frustrated by the Tour’s lack of transparency.


Mackenzie Hughes

Wesley Bryan, a regular on the Tour since 2016, held some of the strongest PGA Tour player reactions and aimed his frustration at Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.  Bryan tweeted, “Love finding out info on Twitter. This is amazing. Ya’ll be ashamed and have a lot of questions to answer.”  He continued, “I feel betrayed, and will not be able to trust anyone within the corporate structure of the PGA Tour for a very long time.”  When asked about his feelings on Commissioner Monahan, Bryan responded “He is a great guy, horrible communicator to the people that “work” for him because he stresses to us that he “works” for us.”

Even the most important figures in the game made sure to let their feelings be known.  Rory McIlroy, considered to be the face of today’s PGA Tour, had plenty to say:

  • On his feelings toward players that left the PGA Tour to join LIV: “The people that left the PGA Tour irreparably harmed this Tour, started litigation against it…We can’t just welcome them back in. That’s not going to happen.”
  • On whether the players who stayed loyal to the PGA Tour Championship should be rewarded for their loyalty: “The simple answer is yes. The complex answer is how does that happen? It’s hard for me to not sit up here and feel somewhat like a sacrificial lamb and feel like I’ve put myself out there and this is what happens.”
  • On his current feelings about LIV Golf and a LIV Golf merger:
    “I still hate LIV. I hope it goes away and I would fully expect that it does.”
  • To make clear the distinction between Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and LIV Golf:
    “I think that’s where the distinction here is. These are the PGA TOUR, the DP World Tour, and the PIF. Very different from LIV. LIV’s got nothing to do with this. It’s the PGA TOUR, DP World Tour and the Public Investment Fund are partnering to create a new company.”
  • On the inevitability of a PGA Tour LIV Golf reckoning and the deal taking shape:

“So the PGA Tour has control of everything. Whether you like it or not, the PIF was going to keep spending the money on golf. If you’re thinking about one of the biggest sovereign wealth funds in the world, would you rather have them as a partner or an enemy? At the end of the day, money talks and you would rather have them as a partner. I look at the bigger picture and I look at 10 years down the line. I think ultimately this is going to be good for the game of professional golf.”

LIV players struck a more optimistic tone even though it was clear that they too had been left in the dark regarding any negotiations between the two sides.  Of the LIV Golf merger, Bryson DeChambeau was quoted, “I couldn’t be more proud of both parties for putting their weapons down and coming together for the game of golf. This is a monumental day for the game of golf, and I can’t wait to see what comes about from this.”  DeChambeau said, “You always want people supporting you compared to pushing you down. And I think coming back there will be a little bit more of a positive sentiment. I’m sure there’s going to be people that don’t agree with it but know that we are going to give the fans a better experience throughout this year, next year, and going forward because of this merger.”

It’s unclear how much more players from each side have learned about the PGA Tour LIV Golf merger in the six or so weeks since the original announcement.  However, what’s obvious is that PGA Tour players have strong feelings about how Tour Championships management operated in silence and left them unaware of their intentions.  Even if the decision ends up being a great thing for golf in the long-term, initial PGA Tour player reactions have not been positive.  Players want to understand how this will impact their careers and many are wondering if they made the right decision in staying loyal to the PGA Tour.

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