As one of LIV’s biggest critics, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee must now come to grips with the PGA Tour and Saudi-backed golf league announcing their surprising merger.
Tuesday morning, the PGA Tour and DP World Tour announced a merger with LIV, which is controversially funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. Chamblee, who has been outspoken about his disdain for LIV since it launched, joined the Golf Channel Tuesday afternoon to discuss the stunning news.
“This is one of the saddest days in the history of professional golf.” Brandel Chamblee pic.twitter.com/WOP3OwdXGd
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) June 6, 2023
“When I first heard about it, I was completely shocked,” Chamblee said. “After the shock sort of ebbed away, I was hugely disappointed. I think this is one of the saddest days in the history of professional golf. I do believe that the governing bodies, the entities, the professional entities have sacrificed their principles for profit.”
Chamblee proceeded to suspect there were a few reasons why the PGA may have caved and merged with LIV. The first being “intractable legal issues,” amid mounting litigation between the two entities where potential antitrust evidence would have been used against the PGA in those lawsuits. Chamblee also noted the PGA Tour is already entangled with businesses and sponsors that similarly take money from the Saudi Public Investment Fund. Finally, Chamblee cited the potential billions of dollars being offered to grow the game of golf, an excuse LIV has used since its inception.
None of those reasons, however, excuse the PGA from looking laughably hypocritical as they create a new for-profit entity with LIV and Saudi money. The PGA previously did not shy away from attempting to tout themselves as the more ethical entity while shaming those golfers who chose to join LIV. But now that the PGA received an offer lucrative enough for them to ignore concerns about taking Saudi money, there is no longer any moral high ground for them to stand on.
Just last month, Chamblee accused LIV golfers of helping the Saudi regime sportswash its human rights abuses. Chamblee even invited Phil Mickelson on the Golf Channel during their U.S. Open coverage to discuss the merits of playing for a Tour funded by Saudi money. Less than one month later, assuming he maintains his role as a golf analyst, Chamblee will now be promoting a league that similarly sacrifices principles for profit.