Collin Morikawa hits to the 13th green during the first round of The Memorial on June 1 in Dublin, Ohio. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Collin Morikawa hits to the 13th green during the first round of The Memorial on June 1 in Dublin, Ohio. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Commentary: PGA Tour merger with LIV a vile act of hypocrisy

The PGA is joining forces with its moral enemy whose presence has been constantly condemned by every Tour member with a soapbox.

By Bill Plaschke / Los Angeles Times

A year ago, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan used two words to describe the rogue LIV Golf League.

“It’s an irrational threat,” he said. “One not concerned with the return on investment or true growth of the game.”

On Tuesday, the PGA Tour had another word for the Saudi-Arabia backed business.


In a stunning act of hypocrisy unmatched even in the mercenary world of professional sports, the PGA Tour has joined forces with its moral enemies in announcing a unification with the same LIV Golf League whose presence had been constantly condemned by every PGA Tour member with a soapbox and a sermon.

A year ago, Monahan said LIV defectors should examine their moral compass.

“It probably is an issue for players that chose to go and take that money … and I think you’d have to be living under a rock to not know that there are significant implications,” Monahan said.

On Tuesday, he crawled under that same rock, announcing that not only would Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund buy into the merger, but would also become a premier tour sponsor.

Yeah, basically, Saudi Arabia now owns golf.

The next time you spend a Sunday afternoon curled up on the couch watching the dramatic end of a PGA Tour event, understand it has been bought by a country with no free speech, no religious freedom and a history of discriminating against women.

The next time you watch Jon Rahm or Scottie Sheffler being interviewed after a round, understand that their paycheck is partially generated by a country that murdered Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“This is a historic day for the game we all know and love,” said Monahan in a statement.

More like knew and loved.

The sudden change in the spineless PGA Tour’s position caught its own players by surprise, with several taking to social media to share their disbelief.

“I love finding out morning news on Twitter,” tweeted Collin Morikawa.

The shock is real. The questions are obvious.

The LIV Golf League was once ripped for allowing the Saudis to use their billions to “sportwash” their history of human rights violations.

But now, the PGA Tour is shamelessly grabbing money from that same sewer?

“The game of golf is better for what we’ve done here today,” said the sellout Monahan to CNBC.

The LIV Golf League’s most famous member, Phil Mickelson, was once ripped by his colleagues for being an opportunist who grabbed at the Saudi’s guaranteed money with no concern for their immoral history.

But now, Mickelson is the game’s biggest winner?

“Awesome day today,” he tweeted.

Sad day. Ugly day. This merger looks like a drive into the woods. It feels like a missed two-foot putt. It’s unsightly and unexpected and just so … unnecessary.

The PGA Tour didn’t need to do this. The PGA Tour had LIV on the ropes. When is the last time you watched an LIV event? Have you ever even seen an LIV event?

Few were watching the rogue tour, even fewer were regularly following it, there was no buzz, scant coverage and almost zero interest.

The LIV had dwindling sponsors, dying support and there was a good chance its members would have soon been lining up for a return to the PGA Tour.

Then a couple of weeks ago, one of the LIV golfers, Brooks Koepka, won the PGA Championship, four other LIV players were in the top 20, 17 LIV players were in the event and the Tour got scared.

It worried it soon wouldn’t have the best golfers. It worried that more would follow Koepka and the money. It panicked and grabbed for the same cash that it had once treated as dirty.

There are those who will applaud this merger because golf fans don’t care about politics, they just want to see the world’s best golfers, and this move will allow that to happen again.

But here’s the thing — if the PGA Tour had just waited, it could have enjoyed the influx of returning stars, but without the Saudi stain.

A year ago, Monahan said, “When someone attempts to buy the sport … I doubt that’s the vision any of us have for the game.”

On Tuesday, he just allowed the Saudis to purchase the sport.

A year ago, commenting on 9/11 families expressing their outrage against LIV golfers for betraying the United States, Monahan told CBS, “As it relates to the families of 9/11 … I would ask any player that has left … have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?”

On Tuesday, it was Monahan and the PGA Tour who owed the sports world an apology.

Sorriest shank ever.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Marysville Pilchuck’s Christian Van Natta lifts the ball in the air to celebrate a turnover during the game against Marysville Getchell on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 29

Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 29: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report… Continue reading

Marysville Pilchuck’s Dominik Kendrick (9) runs with the ball during a football game between Marysville Pilchuck and Stanwood at Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. Marysville Pilchuck takes the win, 36-7. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Marysville Pilchuck proud of 4-0 start, but has loftier goals

The Tomahawks aren’t listening to the outside noise, including a No. 1 WIAA RPI ranking, as a tough stretch lies ahead.

Stanwood players react to their coach bringing them the Stilly Cup on Sept. 30, 2022 in Arlington. The Spartans snapped a 12-game losing streak in the rivalry matchup last year. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
4 games to watch in Week 5 of the prep football season

An in-depth look at the best games the area has to offer, plus a full schedule of the local action in Week 5.

Prep roundup for Friday, Sept. 29

Prep roundup for Friday, Sept. 29: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Houston Astros relief pitcher Hector Neris (50) gestures to Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodríguez (44) after striking Rodríguez out to end the sixth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
MLB investigating Astros pitcher’s alleged use of homophobic slur

The incident occurred during a heated exchange between Houston’s Hector Neris and M’s star Julio Rodriguez on Wednesday night.

Prep roundup for Thursday, Sept. 28

Prep roundup for Thursday, Sept. 28: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Angel of the Winds Arena stands ready and waiting Friday afternoon for Kraken fans to arrive for the preseason game against the Edmondton Oilers. (Jake Goldstein-Street / The Herald)
Patterson: After past fails, can arena football thrive in Everett?

The turbulent past of arena football in the city stems from the opening of the Everett Events Center, now Angel of the Winds Arena, in 2003.

Stanwood's Michael Mascotti relays the next play to his teammates during football practice on Monday, Aug. 29, 2022 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Game picks for Week 5 of the prep football season

Find out which teams the experts and readers pick to win in Week 5.

Hall of Fame inductee Gina Carbonatto accepts her award during the 2023 Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
GALLERY: 2023 Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame banquet

A look at Wednesday’s ceremony honoring some of the most decorated sports figures in the area.

Most Read