Victorious Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley has labelled the shock news of the coming together of the warring PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf as a colossal and seismic change in the make-up of the men’s professional game.
McGinley, like most in the game and including many of the top PGA Tour stars, were taken by complete surprise early afternoon Tuesday (Irish time) with news the PGA Tour and DP World Tour had signed an agreement with the Saudi-backed PIF Fund that backs LIV Golf to work together from next year in promoting the game.
The news also will see the end of any on-going legal disputes or suspensions, and with the ‘nuts and bolts’ of what will be a mega-billion dollar relationship deal not yet known.
McGinley, as one of the most astute observers of the game, first admitted his shock to the news.
“I am obviously surprised at the speed it has happened, though not much surprised that there was a deal done,” he said.
“Commercial interests of the two Tours (PGA and DP World Tour) became a priority and clearly the success LIV has been enjoying, and their players were enjoying being able to again play in major championships, and the pressure it was putting on the whole commercial model of the PGA Tour.
“That pressure was going to lead at some stage to talks around the table and it’s my surprise it happened so quickly and abruptly as it’s happened at the moment.
“What we have seen unfold today is such a colossal and seismic change in the pro game and with everybody at the moment leaning on the ropes just wondering what it could mean for the game, and how it will all play out.”
Of course, the golf world awaits the reaction from fellow Irishman Rory McIlroy who, for two years, has been the ‘mouthpiece’ for the PGA Tour, and who this week defends his RBC Canadian Open title in Toronto.
McIlroy will, no doubt, attend the 4pm (local Canada time) players meeting called by PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, and the current World No. 3 was due to speak to the media following his Thursday am (local time) pro-am.
And McGinley, like all of us, will be anxiously waiting to learn what will be McIlroy’s reaction.
“It will be interesting to learn Rory’s comments but we now know that all of a sudden there is a new top table in men’s professional golf,” McGinley added.
“How is it going to affect the players? Will there be more of a tier system? Will the PGA Tour become more international? Will Saudi Arabia insist on more events in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East?
“There will be a selfish view, as well about what will happen to prize funds and so on.”