You have to imagine the parties who orchestrated the deal that brought the war between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to an end knew the agreement was going to cause more than a few headaches despite addressing the migraine that the golf world had been dealing with for more than a year.
It wasn’t exactly shocking to hear the players who’d turned down the chance to cash in by defecting from the PGA Tour were less than thrilled about how things unfolded, but that was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to the backlash it’s been treated to.
Last week, a Congressional representative introduced a bill that would strip the PGA Tour of its tax-exempt status in the wake of what has largely been reported as an official merger with its Saudi Arabia-funded counterpart, and Senator Richard Blumenthal cited LIV Golf’s link with the country’s Public Investment Fund as the onus for an investigation he’s pledged to conduct concerning the agreement.
However, according to a letter obtained by Politico, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan wasted no time entering the spin zone in the hopes of avoiding the regulatory hurdles he and the organization could encounter courtesy of the federal government.
In his response to Blumenthal’s inquiry, Monahan asserts the merger is not, in fact, a merger, saying:
“Let me be clear that despite numerous reports, this arrangement is not a merger between the PGA TOUR, LIV Golf, and the PIF.
While the TOUR will remain in place as it is today continuing its significant charitable impact across the United States, it will form a separate joint venture with the PIF and the DP World Tour and combine the commercial interests and rights of all three partners.”
Monahan stressed the Saudi Arabian PIF will be a “minority investor” and added the PGA Tour had spoken with multiple members of Congress while attempting to resolve the situation but was “largely left on our own to fend off the attacks…[which] left the very real prospect of another decade of expensive and distracting litigation and the PGA TOUR’s long-term existence under threat.”
The PGA Tour reportedly spent $50 million in legal fees while fighting LIV Golf in court before the arrangement that is totally, definitely not a merger came to fruition, and it seems like that number is only going to rise as it continues to grapple with the fallout.