The entire sports world and, to an extent, the entire political world, was rocked this week when a merger between the fledgling Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund-backed LIV Golf and the PGA Tour was announced on Tuesday.
The two leagues had been at odds since LIV was announced in 2021, with PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan invoking the memory of the lives lost on September 11 to attack LIV. But, LIV still managed to steal away marquee players like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Cam Smith and others with huge guaranteed paychecks.
There were plenty of lawsuits between the two sides, and the merger announcement came out of absolute nowhere, with players not notified until the news became public on CNBC early Tuesday morning. Many questioned why the PGA Tour would merge with LIV when they have bashed them so much. But, new reporting by Sports Illustrated’s Bob Harig showed why it may have happened.
— Bob Harig (@BobHarig) June 10, 2023
Here is an excerpt from the article linked in the tweet.
The PGA Tour sought a deal with the Public Investment Fund due to substantial costs associated with the lawsuit between the two entities and costs associated with increasing purses and bonuses in order to fight against the LIV Golf League.
Commissioner Jay Monahan told the staff in a meeting on Thursday that legal fees were in the $50 million range and that reserves had been depleted by $100 million due to enhanced purses and bonus pools instituted to keep players from jumping to LIV Golf, according to a report in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal.
“We cannot compete with a foreign government with unlimited money,’’ Monahan said to Tour employees according to the Wall Street Journal report. “We waited to be in the strongest possible position to get this deal in place.’’
It’s always about the almighty dollar.