Those golfers included superstars like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, and Cam Smith. LIV offered massive contracts and outrageous tournament purses as a way of luring talent.
And it worked.
The league and its seemingly unlimited funds became a constant thorn in the side of the PGA Tour, which claimed to oppose its rival for its Saudi backing.
In fact, when first announced that LIV Golf would be competing to land PGA players, commissioner Monahan went public to threaten potential defectors.
He dished out suspensions to those that left, and even found himself enthralled in a lawsuit with a number of LIV players.
When all was said and done, though, he chose to join forces with his competition, seemingly without the approval of his PGA Tour golfers.
Many of those players aren’t happy with the LIV merger, and for good reason. He asked them to back the PGA Tour when many could’ve easily taken the money and run. Threats of suspension loomed large, yet in the end, Monahan didn’t hold up his end of the bargain.
The main reason for initial outrage against LIV came from its relationship with Saudi leadership. In fact, during an interview where he preached loyalty to the Tour, he referenced an American tragedy as rationale for LIV opposition.
“I have two families that are close to me that lost loved ones,” Monahan said in that interview with Jim Nantz. “My heart goes out to them, and I would ask that any player that has left, or that would ever consider leaving, have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?”
A group called 9/11 Families United is now blasting Monahan on those hypocritical words.
9/11 group blasts PGA Tour commissioner following LIV merger
After the news broke of a PGA Tour-LIV Golf merger, a group called 9/11 Families United released a statement in which it noted Monahan’s “hypocrisy and greed.”
9/11 Families United is shocked and deeply offended by the newly announced merger between the PGA Tour and the LIV Golf league that is bankrolled by billions of sportswashing money from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Saudi operatives played a role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and now it is bankrolling all of professional golf.
“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 of Americans, and finance al Qaeda and the murder of our loved ones. Make no mistake – we will never forget,” said 9/11 Families United Chair Terry Strada, whose husband Tom died in the World Trade Center’s North Tower.
“Mr. Monahan talked last summer about knowing people who lost loved ones on 9/11, then wondered aloud on national television whether LIV Golfers ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour. They do now – as does he. PGA Tour leaders should be ashamed of their hypocrisy and greed. Our entire 9/11 community has been betrayed by Commissioner Monahan and the PGA as it appears their concern for our loved ones was merely window-dressing in their quest for money – it was never to honor the great game of golf.”
Many others sided with the 9/11 group as golf fans posted reactions online.
One person asked, “How does Jay Monahan sleep at night?” Another said, “Jay Monahan is the WORST kind of hypocrite.”
It’s certainly felt like a stab in the back to his players and tour. It will be interesting to see where things go from here.