PGA/LIV Golf merger: Were the last few years all a dream?

John Craven

Jay Monahan (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Get this. I just got a press release from some guy claiming to be PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan. He’s patting himself on the back and lauding a momentous day for men’s pro golf as the PGA and DP World Tours partner with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. You know, the guys who fund LIV Golf.

It’s funny because the only Jay Monahan I know is a guy who spent the past two years repeatedly telling me that Saudi money was bad, banned PGA Tour members for taking it, and even used the attacks of 9/11 to gain sympathy for his cause.


Seriously, I might have to call Jay about this. It’s getting out of hand. I mean, this imposter is heralding himself as the CEO for some new entity that has seemingly claimed ownership over men’s pro golf. And he explicitly states that fans can have full confidence in his promises. The nerve!

I really think Jay deserves to know. I’m all for a harmless prank but this is defamation of character. Chat GPT has gone way too far this time. The Jay Monahan I know would never stand for this. He’s a force for good, feet entrenched on the right side of golf’s dividing line. He’s Gandalf to Greg Norman’s Saruman.

When did I hear from Jay last? Admittedly it’s been a minute but the last time I checked in, he was giving it the full blooded big one about preserving golf’s tradition. You know, creating legacy. Growing the game. Mummifying meritocracy. Blah blah blah….

And he really hates LIV Golf. Seriously, it got to the point that he wouldn’t even mention them by name in conversation. As for the Saudis. Boy, he would never work with them. Believe me. And those who left the PGA Tour for LIV would never come back. ‘They made their decision. We’ve made ours.’ His words. Not mine. And then we’d clink glasses to the endless virtues of the royal and ancient game where wealth is accrued beyond bank balances and…

Sorry. Just getting word that… Oh. I see. Sold everything? To the Saudis? Former PGA Tour players can come back? McIlroy to the 4Aces…

Where was I…. Look, I’ll be lying to you if I said I didn’t feel like an idiot. I’ve spent the best part of two years believing that golf’s traditional tours were somehow different. Hoping that there was more to pro golf than money, even though the sport has been drowning in it for as long as I can remember. Alas, I’ve been played for a fool. When they said everyone has a price, I refused to believe it. I’m naive. Phil Mickelson has blocked me on Twitter and my world as I know it is falling apart.

But as much and all as I’ve swallowed the lies hook, line and sinker that have been cast from the ivory tower of Tour HQ, I can’t imagine how the players must feel, finding out like the rest of us that the fate of men’s pro golf has been decided by a handful of self-serving suits.

Remember the player meeting in Delaware? The GOAT Woods himself on hand to do Jay’s bidding. An icon of the sport showing up injured to rally the troops. To galvanise them where Monahan couldn’t. To convince them – those reputedly selfish pro golfers – that suddenly there was more to play for than simply themselves. That the sport’s future relied on their fellowship now more than ever.

Imagine being Shane Lowry who declared his victory at last year’s BMW PGA as one for the good guys. He must be thinking, who the f*** are they? The same guys who convinced me and so many others to stay loyal and resist tens of millions in Saudi signing on fees; money that was deemed no good until it directly lined the pockets of Monahan and co?

And what about Rory McIlroy? The Frodo to Jay’s Gandalf, Rory’s after flinging the ring of power into the fires of Mount Doom only to be told after making the gruelling trek back from Mordor that Jay had a spare in his arse pocket the whole time and he’s handed it over to Sauron.

Where do we go from here? Your guess is as good as mine, but while some will celebrate the three tours coming together, it just seems to me that we’re in the same place we were three years ago, only golf has sold its soul to the Saudis, the men making the decisions have lost all credibility, and from 2024, Woods and McIlroy could be Range Goats.

I for one won’t be drinking to any of that.

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