It was announced yesterday that the PGA Tour and LIV Golf league plan to merge, which Politico wrote ended "a bitter and controversial feud between the competing organizations."
LIV Golf was launched in 2019, financed by the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. It was positioned as a competitor to the PGA, with prominent golfers such as Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson signing on for millions of dollars in appearance fees. Other golfers, such as Tiger Woods and Rory McElroy, declined to abandon the PGA; Woods was said to have a declined an offer in "the high nine figures." The PGA initially banned LIV golfers from participating in tour events, though that position softened.
- KC's View:
From all my reading, this appears to be a public relations nightmare, with the PGA and its commissioner, Jay Monahan, accused of rolling over for Saudi money.
Not being a golfer nor a golf fan, I don't really care.
Except for this. When the PGA initially did battle with LIV, Monahan cited the families of people killed on 9-11 when he accused the Saudis of trying to "sportswash" their international reputation. That struck me then and now as a legitimate observation, and Monahan appears to be engaging in situational ethics dictated by the size of the check.
He's also under attack by those 9-11 families. 9/11 Families United National Chair Terry Strada yesterday released the following statement:
"PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan co-opted the 9/11 community last year in the PGA’s unequivocal agreement that the Saudi LIV project was nothing more than sportswashing of Saudi Arabia’s reputation. But now the PGA and Monahan appear to have become just more paid Saudi shills, taking billions of dollars to cleanse the Saudi reputation so that Americans and the world will forget how the Kingdom spent their billions of dollars before 9/11 to fund terrorism, spread their vitriolic hatred, and finance al Qaeda and the murder of our loved ones. Make no mistake — we will never forget.”
Politico notes that Strada also "sent a letter to the Justice Department requesting an investigation into Saudi Arabian foreign agents for alleged violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act."
And one other thing. The consensus in the intelligence community seems to be that the people behind the Saudi Public Investment Fund are responsible for the dismemberment and murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Some people on both sides of the aisle appear to have forgotten, or are willing to ignore, that fact.
Which leads to the ultimate question:
“What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?"
The folks at the PGA clearly forfeited their souls to make this deal. The larger business question is whether their corruption will diminish their product, or if their is so much money involved that this thing is too big to fail.
Unfortunately, I suspect it is the latter. Makes me glad, though, that I don't give a damn about professional golf.