HomeGolfShock Wave: PGA, European, and Saudi-Backed LIV Golf Circuits Merge

Shock Wave: PGA, European, and Saudi-Backed LIV Golf Circuits Merge

Shock Wave: PGA, European, and Saudi-Backed LIV Golf Circuits Merge

Surprise and dismay were the order of the day as the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and controversial Saudibacked rival LIV Golf series announced an unexpected merger to unify golf. The announcement of the shock deal includes an agreement to end all pending litigation between the competing parties and stipulates that the Public Investment Fund (PIF) will make a capital investment into the new entity to facilitate its growth and success.

After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan. PIF Governor Yasir AlRumayyan was equally enthusiastic about the agreement, saying:Today is a very exciting day for this special game and the people it touches around the world. We are proud to partner with the PGA Tour to leverage PIF‘s unparalleled success and track record of unlocking value and bringing innovation and global best practices to business and sectors worldwide.”

The news was met with a mixture of surprise and bemusement by leading players on the PGA Tour such as twotimes major champion Collin Morikawa and Canadian world number 67 Mackenzie Hughes, who learnt of the agreement on Twitter.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump, who owns three courses that are part of LIV Golf‘s 14event schedule in 2023, celebrated the deal in a Truth post using all caps:Great news from LIV Golf. A big, beautiful, and glamorous deal for the wonderful world of golf. Congrats to all!!!”

Hall of Fame golfer Phil Mickelson, former world number one Dustin Johnson, reigning PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka and 2022 British Open winner, Australian Cameron Smith who all chose to join the lucrative LIV Golf tour were also quick to praise the agreement. Awesome day today,” Mickelson tweeted.

The LIV Golf series, which was bankrolled by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund and often referred to as a vehicle for the country to attempt to improve its reputation in the face of criticism of its human rights record, was quick to attract attention among golf‘s elite players when it first launched in 2022.

The merger deal also includes an agreement for any LIV Golf players to reapply for PGA Tour and DP World Tour membership following the 2023 season. The details of the merger still remain sketchy and many questions have been left unanswered including how it will impact the current competitive golf landscape and eligibility for the 2023 Ryder Cup. The U.S. Justice Department was investigating whether the PGA Tour broke antitrust law in fighting off the rival LIV Golf circuit at one point in time, though attempts to reach the Justice Department were unsuccessful.

The PGA had sought to fend off the competition by barring its players from participating in the LIV Golf circuit before the shock announcement of the merger on Tuesday. One antitrust expert said that the PGA/LIV deal would be approved and two others said it was too close to call, but Seth Bloom of Bloom Strategic Counsel said the merger made sense in the big picture.

This is entertainment. I think that would make it a less priority for the antitrust enforcers,” Bloom said. That said, it is an agreement that has sent shockwaves through the sport and has been welcomed by many of the players who had been caught up in the battle of golf‘s governing bodies before the surprise merger came to light.

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