This article was originally published on Investor Wire
Golf is about doing something you like, with people you like – what a concept.
It’s hard to blame players and golf lovers from feeling blindsided by the announcement of a full-blown merger between two of golf’s major tours. The unexpected agreement between PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and Saudi businessman Yasir bin Othman Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (“PIF”), that the PGA and LIV Golf would suddenly merge, was out-of-the-blue. After months of increasingly rancorous suits and court battles, “merger” wasn’t a term seen on a lot of radar screens.
The PGA Tour, hosting tournaments in North America, and the DP World Tour, representing tournaments in Europe, had over time cooperated to build the world’s senior golf tours. But when Golf Saudi (part of the Saudi Public Investment Fund, PIF) decided to fund a new “Super Golf League”, later launched as LIV Golf in 2021, PGA’s Monahan didn’t take to the competition, and flat-out barred any LIV players from participating in the PGA Tour. That soon led to player lawsuits against the PGA, and months of expensive back-and-forth legal battles.
Eventually, according to ESPN, Monahan apparently decided that PGA’s financial model “wasn’t sustainable while fighting Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, which reportedly has $620 billion in assets” (https://ibn.fm/6Us5s). Part of this, of course, was the fact that the PGA was also being forced to up the ante in competition with LIV to get top players on their tour.
Not surprisingly, some key players who felt pressured to take sides in the fight suddenly found themselves blindsided by the shift, and decided to let loose on social media. Ireland sports website Balls.ie (https://ibn.fm/bb6rC) pointed to a Times (UK) report (https://ibn.fm/4L2TM) indicating that “several players had called on Monahan to resign as a response to his public dishonesty in slamming LIV while arranging the merger deal with them behind the scenes.”
A tweet from Todd Lewis of the Golf Channel said that “Most of those players were offered @livgolf_league money but turned it down to be loyal to the Tour. Those players told me they feel betrayed and manipulated.”
An Inside Golf report (https://ibn.fm/8CWTa) popped up some sample tweets:
Nothing like finding out through Twitter that we’re merging with a tour that we said we’d never do that with.
I feel betrayed, and will not be able to trust anyone within the corporate structure of the PGA TOUR for a very long time
Very curious how many people knew this deal was happening. About 5-7 people? Player run organization, right?
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.
In fairness, a number of players have gradually come around to the deal, at least suggesting that the move could be good for golfing in the long run. But ask anyone who has used GolfLync why maybe none of this had to happen in the first place. And sure, GolfLync is designed to work with actual golf players and not multi-national organizations, but it rests on a solid, if sometimes forgotten idea. In case you’re not a golfer, GolfLync is the new thing golfers use to ensure that they always play with people they actually enjoy (go to www.GolfLync.com, or see the Apple App Store for 5-star reviews). Anyway, without going into details, maybe leaders of the biggest golf organizations in the world should take a tip from GolfLync and remember the earliest rule of the game: Golf is about doing something you like, with people you like – what a concept.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.GolfLync.com.
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