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PGA Tour golfers are not happy with commissioner Jay Monahan following the announcement that the tour would be merging with LIV Golf and the DP World Tour.
After the merger was made public, Monahan met with players Tuesday at Oakdale Golf and Country Club in Toronto ahead of the RBC Canadian Open. Australian golfer Geoff Ogilvy told reporters that one player called the commissioner a hypocrite during the meeting, which lasted more than an hour.
“It was mentioned, yeah, and he took it,” Ogilvy said, per ESPN’s Mark Schlabach. “He said, ‘Yeah.’ He took it, for sure.”
Monahan had long been a critic of LIV Golf, which is backed by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund. He told reporters Tuesday that he knew he would receive some criticism based on his past comments.
“I recognize everything that I’ve said in the past and my prior positions. I recognize that people are going to call me a hypocrite,” Monahan said. “Anytime I said anything, I said it with the information that I had at that moment, and I said it based on someone that’s trying to compete for the PGA Tour and our players. I accept those criticisms, but circumstances do change. I think that in looking at the big picture and looking at it this way, that’s what got us to this point.”
The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund will initially be the exclusive investor in the merger between the PGA Tour, LIV Golf and the DP World Tour. Monahan will serve as CEO, and PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan will be the chairman.
Monahan said Tuesday that the PGA Tour had been in talks with the Public Investment Fund for more than one month. However, the tour had not been in contact with players about the discussions on a potential merger, leaving them in the dark ahead of the announcement.
Several players, including two-time major champion Collin Morikawa, were shocked by the announcement.
Mackenzie Hughes @MacHughesGolf
Nothing like finding out through Twitter that we’re merging with a tour that we said we’d never do that with.
Michael Gellerman @OUknowmike
Never thought I’d see a bigger sellout move in sports when KD joined the Warriors… but Jay over here “hold my beer!”
Other players that left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf, including Bryson DeChambeau, called the merger “monumental” for the game.
Monahan added that he understood why some players were upset with the news of the merger, adding that combining the three tours is a significant venture.
“Obviously, it’s been a very dynamic and complex couple of years, and for players, I’m not surprised,” Monahan said. “This is an awful lot to ask them to digest, and this is a significant change for us in the direction that we were going down.”
LIV Golf was founded in 2021 and has been the main competitor to the PGA Tour. Many of the tour’s top players, including DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson, joined LIV Golf after being offered a significant amount of money to do so.
LIV Golf’s larger purse sizes were also attractive to many players who made the switch.
However, LIV Golf and the players that chose to leave the PGA Tour for the Saudi-backed league have received plenty of criticism due to Saudi Arabia’s history of human rights abuses. The Saudi Arabian government has also been accused of trying to improve its image through sports, otherwise known as “sportswashing.”
With the three tours now combined, it’s going to be interesting to see how the golf landscape continues to change in the future.