Scott Van Pelt Scott Van Pelt at the Dick Vitale Gala in 2021.

The golf world is still coming to grips with last week’s seismic merger between the PGA Tour and its mortal enemy, LIV Golf. After pledging his undying loyalty to the PGA Tour, one can only imagine what Rory McIlroy must be feeling, betrayed and embarrassed by a spineless commissioner (Jay Monahan) who turned out to be just as corrupt as the forces he was fighting.

How can the PGA Tour possibly allow Brooks Koepka and other tour defectors to return without compensating the players who stayed? Was Phil Mickelson, after years of pounding the table for higher purses, right all along? And what would a joint tour between the PGA Tour and LIV actually look like? Those are just a few of the many questions still to be answered, lingering like black smoke over this week’s U.S. Open festivities in Los Angeles.

Bankrolled by PIF’s seemingly unlimited supply of oil money, LIV’s ties to Saudi investors has been a source of significant controversy, with many viewing LIV as complicit in a sportswashing scheme aimed at legitimizing a country synonymous with intolerance and human rights abuses. That’s quite the moral conundrum, though it doesn’t keep Scott Van Pelt up at night. The SportsCenter anchor insists he doesn’t judge players for pursuing life-altering money, regardless of where it comes from.

“I’m pretty pragmatic and I think I’m pretty much an adult when it comes to money. If we’re looking under the microscope or under the black light for the clean money, I don’t know that it exists,” Van Pelt expressed during his appearance Wednesday on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. “I’ve never had a nine-figure decision to make in my life and I have a hard time judging those that do. I understand you could say there are some real atrocities here, and that’s accurate. With $100 million before me, I don’t know what I’d do. It doesn’t bother me because I think I’m just honest with myself about it.”

While Van Pelt wouldn’t take a side on that particular subject, he didn’t hold back in his criticism of Monahan, who he feels has lost all credibility.

“What is often the only thing that’s understood in a negotiation is a loaded weapon. And LIV was that. And the PGA responded almost immediately to the very pointed criticisms that those that went to LIV made and suddenly they found millions under couch cushions,” said Van Pelt. “[Monahan] said you can’t take the money to the players that were on the PGA Tour. Then he took the money. He went on with Jim Nantz in Canada last year and talked about 9/11. He said I know I’ll be seen as a hypocrite. Well yeah, because that’s hypocritical.”

The U.S. Open will get underway Thursday at Los Angeles Country Club. Matt Fitzpatrick is the defending champion.

About Jesse Pantuosco

Jesse Pantuosco joined Awful Announcing as a contributing writer in May 2023. He’s also written for Audacy and NBC Sports. A graduate of Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a master’s degree in creative writing from Fairfield University, Pantuosco has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. He lives in West Hartford, Connecticut and never misses a Red Sox, Celtics or Patriots game.