PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan discussing LIV merger on CNBC

One of the biggest news stories of the year broke Tuesday morning, when the PGA Tour and DP World Tour agreed to merge with LIV Golf.

According to the press release, the merger will form a new, collectively owned, for-profit entity, with a name that is yet be determined. The stunning development comes after more than a year of flared tensions and mounting lawsuits between the PGA and LIV, a startup tour controversially backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). To break the news, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan joined CNBC Tuesday morning.

During the segment, CNBC’s David Faber asked Monahan if he had a response to people who will now claim the Saudis control golf around the world.

“You’re describing a scenario under which PIF at some point could have the majority of the economics, correct me if I’m wrong, of this entity,” Faber noted. “Essentially, the Saudis – people will say – ‘They control golf around the world.’ I’m just curious as to what you think the response is going to be?”

In Tuesday morning’s press release, it was announced that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund will make a capital investment into the new entity formed by the merger.

“A lot of people have been reading about the tension,” Monahan responded. “And I’ve said previously that we were going down our path, they were going down theirs. And today, that tension goes away. The litigation is dropped. We’re announcing to the world that on behalf of this game, we’re coming together.

“It’s less about how people respond today and it’s all about how people respond in ten years. And when they see the impact that we’re having on this game together, there will be a lot of smiles on people’s faces and there will be a lot more people playing this game all over the world. And if you’re a young player that wants to get to the highest level of the game today, you’ll be a lot more inspired than you’ve ever been before.”

Since joining LIV, golfers such as Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson have been shamed for being positioned as ambassadors to the Saudi royal family, assisting the regime in sportswashing their human rights abuses. Monahan himself similarly chastised professional golfers for opting to take the Saudi’s money.

Last year, a 9/11 survivors’ group spoke out against LIV, citing Saudi ties to the 2001 terrorist attacks and believing the tour’s participants were betraying the United States. In response, Monahan attempted to sell the PGA Tour’s ethics and morality by using the 9/11 families who were upset with the LIV Tour coming to the United States.

“Have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?” Monahan asked during an interview with Jim Nantz last June.

One year later, Monahan’s moral compass changed directions. The Saudis now appear to control professional golf and Monahan expects the merger with LIV to put smiles on people’s faces, which is a gross and hypocritical reversal from his previous stance.

Even as he spoke out against the Saudi-backed tour last year, Monahan had to know there was a chance the PGA would ultimately merge with LIV. And by attempting to sell the PGA as the moral entity, Monahan now looks ridiculous when he promotes the merger with Saudi Arabia’s LIV Tour as a good thing.


About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to