Modern elite sport stinks and the Saudis have their hands all over it

Ronan MacNamara

Jay Monahan and Keith Pelley (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

In keeping in tandem with the Sucession based theme over the last week or so, Rory McIlroy has been Kendall Roy’d and it’s not just because of the uncanny resemblance when he stands at a side profile.

As part of the latest merger the PGA Tour will control holes 1-8, the DP World Tour will run the rule over holes 12-18 and the Saudis will do 9-11.

Meanwhile Cameron Smith has burst in the gates of TPC Sawgrass, Conor McGregor style, shoulders cocked back and the mullet flowing.


He’s won, they have won. It’s like if Harry Potter aligned with Voldemort to just go and Avada Kedavra the crap out of Hogwarts.

Golf is not the only sport to have state involvement. Manchester City, Newcastle United, Paris Saint Germain (and potentially Manchester United) have all been swayed by state backed investment. Two have won their domestic leagues while all three qualified for next season’s UEFA Champions League. Pep Guardiola’s Man City have won five of the last six Premier Leagues while PSG have monopolised the French league, swatting aside the likes of Lyon and Marseille as they trample over Ligue 1.

A European Super League beckons for professional football and while it has been delayed thus far, you can’t deny State funds, you can certainly delay them but it’s just prolonging the inevitable and golf has finally cracked. Greg Norman’s vision in 1994 has come to fruition.

Saudi Arabia has the sporting landscape at its feet. They signed Cristiano Ronaldo to the Saudi football league and now have him to promote the league which plans to increase its revenue to $400 million annually by 2030. Karim Benzema has moved there upon leaving Real Madrid while ‘the nicest guy in football’ N’golo Kante looks set to take the Saudi riches and Lionel Messi is an ambassador for the nation.

While they have wrapped their tentacles in sport, particularly football, boxing and formula one. For God sake the SPANISH Super Cup is played in Saudi Arabia! But this goes far beyond hosting tournaments, buying football teams and hosting televised traffic, they have essentially bought an entire sport.

Money wins, money buys success. Mother of God, Chase Koepka could have a PGA Tour card after Tuesday.

I realise I have written 260 words about how the game of golf has changed forever and yet I have not even come to mention the hypocrite that is PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.

I have always viewed Mr Monahan as someone who was not fit to lead the PGA Tour, he comes across as a spinless character. However, before getting into the hypocrisy and how this decision impacts the players who stayed loyal to him and those He asked to stay loyal to him. To not inform the players of this decision is just a plain lack of class and that is something I have a massive problem with.

Regardless of whether you are making the right or wrong decision, you inform the people it is going to impact, especially if you are the leader of an organisation. Or did he think Rory McIlroy would do it for him while he hid behind the curtain?

For the players who have defended the PGA Tour in the face of LIV, turned down lucrative offers, this is a massive slap in the face for them to find out about the news the same way you and I did.

Monahan today: “Today the tension goes away”, he said. “The litigation is dropped. On behalf of this game we are coming together. It’s less about how people respond today, all about how people respond in 10 years. There will be a lot more people playing this game all over the world.”

In layman’s terms, he strung the players along, gave up and pawned them because sport just a resource for making money and it’s not just golf. Elite level modern sport stinks.

Sure, financially this deal is great for the PGA Tour and there was a general consensus that all three main tours would co-exist. The LIV subplot at the Masters and PGA Championship worked a treat and including the Dubai duel between McIlroy and Patrick Reed it did bring new eyes to golf on television.

But what Monahan has done to the players is a horrendous case of hypocrisy.

Several players rejected millions upon millions of dollars to join LIV Golf including a certain Will Zalatoris whose career at the top level is in jeopardy because of a serious back injury. He was offered $100 million but turned it down or was told to turn it down. A PGA Tour University winner was offered $20 million upon turning professional but he rejected it to ply his trade on the Korn Ferry Tour – the PGA Tour’s feeder circuit – out of loyalty to a tour he may not make it on.

Monahan sold them out, he sold golf out and the decision made between the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and LIV Golf has put world sport in danger of being steamrolled by the Kingdom.

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