Fans are reacting to shocking announcement as golfers scramble to wrap their heads around the new deal.
LIV came onto the golf scene in March of 2022, led by Greg Norman and backed by Saudi funds. While the upstart league hasn’t quite gained the popularity that we see on the Tour, it has developed into a suitable competitor of the PGA.
Most of that is due to its ability to land big names as LIV convinced players like Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, and Cam Smith to join. Those defections came with the loss of certain PGA perks, but also with insanely lucrative contracts.
Criticisms came with where that LIV money was coming from as many disagreed with political stances and human rights views of Saudi Arabian leadership.
Some of the PGA Tour’s top stars were vocal in their opposition of their new competition, most notably Rory McIlroy. But after months of criticism, he seemed to wave the white flag.
Maybe now we know why.
The PGA-LIV merger signals a truce between the two leagues, who’d previously engaged in both verbal and legal battles. While a deal is now in place, it hasn’t eased the minds of many on the PGA Tour.
In fact, it sounds much like the opposite. What have these players been fighting for the last two years?
Initial feedback is that the TOUR players are *not happy*.
They turned down cash, changed their own schedule, stuck their necks out against LIV for two years and now they are finding out about a merge in real-time on Twitter.
— Rick Gehman (@RickRunGood) June 6, 2023
Golf fans have been quick to comment on that unhappiness amongst PGA Tour players.
So, you preach loyalty to a tour and convince guys not to take 8 and 9 figure deals based, in part, on that loyalty and, in part, on the source of the money. Then those guys find out on Twitter YOU took the very same money?
Nino Brown, “Always business, never personal.”
— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) June 6, 2023
One person wrote, “They should be livid, this was handled so poorly.”
Another said, “Hard to blame them for being a little irked,”
I’d be mad too
— Ibex Sports (@sports_ibex) June 6, 2023
From the sounds of it, most weren’t told of the deal ahead of time. Making matters worse, many turned down the opportunity to take the money and run, instead remaining true to the PGA Tour.
Tiger Woods, for example, was reportedly offered $800 million, which he walked away from. Now, the league he and many others stayed loyal to has gotten into bed with the enemy.
This presents a huge change in the future of golf. The first steps will be rocky, but it will be interesting to see where things go from here.