The rift between the prestigious PGA Tour and LIV Golf has been a source of significant tension in the professional golfing community. Amidst all the bitterness and litigations, the world got shocked when PGA Tour announced the merging of the two golf leagues. The pact is surely exciting and is believed to bring positive changes in men's professional golf. So let's take a look at what this partnership is all about, starting from the beginning.
What are The PGA Tour and LIV Golf?
PGA Tour is a prestigious non-profit organisation arranging professional golf tours across the United States, North America, Europe and Asia. The top-tier professional golfers take part in PGA tournaments and compete for million-dollar cash prizes. Golfers including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Arnold Palmer and Justin Thomas have all risen to fame through PGA.
The PGA tour is recognised all across the world for showcasing top talent and making efforts to promote professional golf. The tour also enjoys great relationships with organisations that showcase the men's four golf majors i.e. the Masters Tournament, the P.G.A. Championship, the U.S. Open and the British Open.
LIV golf tour was founded in late 2021. The tour, with the former professional golfer Greg Norman as its CEO, and heavy funding from Public Investment Fund- knowns world's largest sovereign wealth fund- aimed to revolutionise golf. The PGA Tour's competition offered world-class golfers bigger prize money and lured in many, including champions like Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka.
Besides offering more money, the LIV tour introduced several new rules like a more relaxed dress code, three days of tournaments instead of four, no shotgun or cuts and team games. LIV golf also allowed music on the golf courses to attract a greater audience and make golf fun.
How was the relationship between the two leagues before they joined forces?
PGA Tour has always been one of the premier and most prestigious professional golf tours in the world. So when LIV golf lured in PGA's most prominent golf players and threatened the Tour's reputation by offering billions of dollars in prize money, the two leagues found themselves in a rivalry, fighting legal battles to protect their position and interests.
The PGA Tour members who participated in the LIV golf tournament 2022, were forced to resign from the PGA immediately. The DP World Tour also followed suit, suspending and fining the LIV golf participants. These events led LIV Golf to sue PGA Tour for having excessive control over the golf market and limiting opportunities for alternative leagues to grow. The PGA then sued its opponent back for disrupting existing contractual agreements between the PGA Tour and golfers by offering the players more money and fame.
The critics on both sides have also passed harsh comments over a period of two years, so seeing the two golf leagues leaving behind all the bad blood and partnering is a massive shock for all.
What is PGA Tour And LIV Golf Merge All About?
After having secret lunch meetings in Venice and golf rounds to discuss the future of golf, the PGA Tour and LIV Golf agreed on terms that will benefit both parties and golfers. The decision to merge was revealed to the public on Tuesday, 6 June 2022, when the PGA tour commissioner, Jay Monahan released a statement saying,
"This transformational partnership recognises the immeasurable strength of the PGA TOUR's history, legacy and pro-competitive model and combines with it the DP World Tour and LIV — including the team golf concept — to create an organisation that will benefit golf's players, commercial and charitable partners and fans. Going forward, fans can be confident that we will, collectively, deliver on the promise we've always made – to promote competition of the best in professional golf and that we are committed to securing and driving the game's future."
The agreed terms allow PGA Tour to work as a non-profit organisation and have complete control over its future tournaments. The commercial business rights of PGA and its associated DP tour will be owned by a new For Profit entity that doesn't have a name yet. The LIV Golf commercial business rights will also be controlled by this unnamed entity, currently called New Co.
Yasir Al Rumayyan- the governor of the Public Investment Fund, has been named the chairman of the For-profit entity- New Co. The executive board of directors will consist of three of the PGA Tour's current directors. The PGA will have a great deal of control over future voting- meaning the PGA will be the main decision-maker for New Co.
Following this merger, the two leagues will also take back all the lawsuits they have filed against each other- including the anti-trust lawsuit filed by LIV Golf. The PGA Tour will also benefit financially from this partnership as PIF plans on investing billions of dollars in the newly formed entity.
How Does The Public Feel About The Merge?
The decision to merge the leagues was kept a complete secret. Meetings took place behind closed doors, and it wasn't until they broke the news on t.v that golfers and the public came to know about it.
Many well-known golfers tweeted about how the merge was a complete surprise, and they only got to know while scrolling through Twitter.
The American professional golfer, Collin Morikawa tweeted, “I love finding out morning news on Twitter."
PGA player Michael Kim showed resentment for keeping the big news secret by tweeting, “Very curious how many people knew this deal was happening. About 5-7 people? Players run the organization right?”
The Canadian PGA golfer, Mackenzie Hughes, felt betrayed by the decision and showed his disappointment through his tweet, "Nothing like finding out through Twitter that we’re merging with a tour that we said we’d never do that with.”
The LIV golf player and former PGA champion was excited about the merge and tweeted, “Awesome day today 😊"
According to the sources, the LIV golf players are excited about the partnership as now they will make big money from both leagues. The PGA players, on the other hand, didn't take the news well. They complained about the Tour, keeping them in the dark till the last day and not considering their opinion. The meetings held by PGA golfers revealed that 90% of the players were against the merger.
The mixed responses from the golfers and incomplete information about the pact make it hard to predict the future of this merger.
The golfers all over the world are shocked by the news and waiting for the details to be revealed. Whatever this deal brings golfers way, one thing we all know for sure- golf players, whether they LIV golf or PGA tour supporter, need premium quality golf clothes to play the tournaments. So when in need of new apparel that should head to Druids, a discount golf store that offers a coprehensive collection of golfwear at affordable prices.