A bombshell fell on the world of sports Tuesday morning when The PGA and European Golf Tour announced that they would be merging with upstart rival LIV Golf. The Saudi-backed association launched in 2021 and immediately made waves, signing some of the gentlemanly game’s biggest stars, like Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka.
Changes will begin taking place following the 2023 season, with former PGA players who signed with LIV able to seek reinstatement at that time. Details were still coming fast and furious as of press time and are expected to take place like lightning strikes – much like this initial announcement came.
The news immediately sent shockwaves through the athletic and economic universe, as it promises to change the face of golf forever. The butterfly effect of today’s metamorphic move will be felt for years, and even decades, to come. LIV Golf, with its incredible economic resources, was viewed as the PGA’s first true challenger on a global scale.
The new league also faced the stigma of being part of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which has been accused of being a front for whitewashing some of the nation’s human rights injustices. This was a tense topic that was broached by not only the press, but also by members of the PGA and Euro themselves.
Many of the players who defected to LIV were viewed as sympathizers of Saudi terror and the leadership under Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Case in point: 9/11 families have already slammed the PGA for the merger.
However, golf’s three biggest entities will now join forces as a new (but yet unnamed) entity. It’s widely believed that events will still be branded under and sanctioned by the Pro Golfer’s Association. However, there’s always the possibility that a new conglomerate could mean a moniker and/or acronym switch as well.
In the wake of the deal being completed, PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan told the gathering mass of media that this partnership helps settle the storm of recent years, and it will make the game – as a whole – much, much stronger.
“There’s been a lot of tension in our sport over the last couple of years,” Monahan said, “but what we’re talking about today is coming together to unify the game of golf and to do so under one umbrella.”
In terms of play, no decision has been made in terms of the number of events, and how the schedule would be structured. Likewise, no announcement has been made regarding how LIV Golf’s team format might be incorporated into play in 2024.