The golfing world was taken by surprise when the announcement was made of a merger between LIV Golf, the newest rival to the PGA Tour, and the European Tour. The two organizations had been at odds for almost a year, with lawsuits and questions about morality thrown into the mix. However, on Tuesday, news broke that the commercial interests of the three tours would merge. The PGA Tour Commissioner, Jay Monahan, had been planning on informing players via a memo, but word leaked online before the official communication was sent out.
The news was a shock to many players, some of whom took to social media to express their surprise. Mackenzie Hughes tweeted, “Nothing like finding out through Twitter that we’re merging with a tour that we said we’d never do that with.” Rafael-Cabrera Bello, said, “Such an exciting day for golf! Welcome @LIVgolf and congrats to @PGATOUR and @EuropeanTour for the big news.”
The unification of the tours brings up questions about loyalty and the choice of accepting signing bonuses from organizations like LIV Golf. Players who defected to LIV Golf may now have a way to rejoin those that decided not to take money from them. Some players saw the merger as hypocrisy with Dylan Wu going as far as saying on Twitter, “Tell me why Jay Monahan basically got a promotion to CEO of all golf in the world by going back on everything he said the past 2 years. I guess money always wins.”
Monahan himself acknowledged the potential criticism of the merger. He said he was aware that the two tours had been on different paths for some time. “After a lot of introspection, you realize all this tension in the game is not a good thing.” Monahan will be discussing the merger with the PGA Tour players at the Canadian Open, although some of the tour’s top golfers are not at the event.
The merger brings many inquiries about how the future of golf will look. Although it is still unclear how the unification of the tours will work going forward, it is clear that the new golf landscape will be very different from the old one.