If you were caught off by the news that LIV Golf would be merging with the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, then you weren’t alone. Jay Monahan, the commissioner of the PGA Tour, virtually did this on his own accord and did so without informing the players or his television partners for that matter.
As we’ve come to learn the details of the fallout of this announcement, Monahan seems to have informed absolutely no one about Tuesday’s landmark deal. That’s become increasingly clear to just about anybody who’s seen the raw, authentic reactions from the players and the subsequent details or lack thereof that have matriculated from the television partners of the tour.
Surprised that this merger has happened so quickly but not surprised it’s happened. Definitely in the financial interest of both sides. Definitely in the financial interest of the players even though some of those who gain will feel like they’re losing. Good for the cohesion of…
— Padraig Harrington (@padraig_h) June 6, 2023
Tell me why Jay Monahan basically got a promotion to CEO of all golf in the world by going back on everything he said the past 2 years. The hypocrisy. Wish golf worked like that. I guess money always wins @PGATOUR
— Dylan Wu (@dylan_wu59) June 6, 2023
I don’t know I find out all of my information from text chains and ESPN alerts like the rest of you so stop texting me
— Mark Hubbard (@HomelessHubbs) June 6, 2023
Nothing like finding out through Twitter that we’re merging with a tour that we said we’d never do that with.
— Mackenzie Hughes (@MacHughesGolf) June 6, 2023
I love finding out morning news on Twitter
— Collin Morikawa (@collin_morikawa) June 6, 2023
Very curious how many people knew this deal was happening. About 5-7 people? Player run organization right? ??♂️
— Michael S. Kim (@Mike_kim714) June 6, 2023
Speaking with The Washington Post, an executive from a television partner of the tour told Ben Strauss that they were just learning about this. That same executive told Strauss that it looks like PGA Tour and LIV will remain their own brands. The executive doesn’t know if any changes will be made to rights deals or production, which is largely problematic.
From an exec at a TV partner of PGA Tour: "We just learned about this."
Exec said it looks like PGA Tour and LIV remain their own brands, doesn't know if/any changes to rights deals or production.
Asked if network was now a partner of Saudi govt, exec said, "We're not sure."
— Ben Strauss (@benjstrauss) June 6, 2023
Remember, the CW was the only network willing to get in bed with the Saudi-backed venture. LIV was seen as pretty untouchable by the major networks, so it’s hard to imagine that they would’ve gone through with this deal; though Monahan did anyway. Now, those partners are “not sure” if they’re now a partner of the Saudi Arabian government, which is not a place they wanted to be in anyway.
Now, the whole structure of the golfing calendar could be changed in an instant and none of the television partners remotely had a clue that this was going on or going to happen. Not having a conversation with your TV partners about a landmark deal that you likely knew they could have some opposition to is just absolutely preposterous. But, it’s become increasingly clear that Monahan chased those dollar signs after he chastised professional golfers himself for opting to take the Saudi’s money.
The Saudis now appear to control professional golf. TV providers have no idea what their future holds and neither do those who were loyal to the tour. They now feel betrayed and manipulated, while Monahan’s moral compass has done a complete 180, in order to become the become CEO of all of golf and all the money that likely comes with this jaw-dropping move. How fitting.