The entire golfing world was agog on Tuesday when news broke out that the PGA and DP World Tour had been merged with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund [PIF]. The PIF is the group that controls the LIV Invitational, meaning that the PGA, DP World Tour, and LIV are all under the same umbrella now.
The historic merger, which came as a surprise, not just to fans but even to top PGA Tour players, means an end in hostility between the PGA and the LIV.
Although how the leagues would be structured has not been decided on yet. But it is expected that former PGA Tour players who left for the LIV Invitational would now be allowed to play in PGA Tour games. This extends beyond PGA events as affected players may now also be allowed to participate in the Ryder Cup and other events. LIV events would now also receive OWGR recognition.
Speaking on the merger, PGA Tour boss Dan Monahan said that everyone stood a chance to benefit from it: “This transformational partnership recognises the immeasurable strength of the PGA Tour’s history, legacy, and pro-competitive model and combines with it the DP World Tour and LIV – including the team golf concept – to create an organisation that will benefit players, partners, and fans.”
About a year ago, Monahan had very discouraging things to say about the new league and was quite tough on the few players who dared to leave the PGA Tour. But he described the merger on Tuesday as “a historic day for the game.”
Rory McIlory, who had been a staunch critic of the LIV Invitaiion, said that the merger would turn out to be good for the game in the long run, although he himself had mixed feelings about the whole thing. He also commented on feeling like the “sacrificial lamb”, over how he had been speaking up for the PGA Tour these past months. But he admitted that he still hates the LIV, adding, “I hope it goes away now.”
The news of the merger is one of the shocking things to have happened to the game of golf recently, and it would take a while before things settle. In the meantime, we would be looking at how the merger is structured and what it would mean for the players and the different leagues now.