Friday, July 19, 2024
Friday, July 19, 2024
Home » Hell Freezes Over: PGA Gets Into Bed With Saudis, Merges With LIV Golf

Hell Freezes Over: PGA Gets Into Bed With Saudis, Merges With LIV Golf

by Eli Barker
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One of the more contentious battles in professional sports in recent memory has been the downright nasty fight in golf between the PGA Tour and upstart LIV Golf. The battle has raged on in the sports press, the courts, and social media. It hasn’t just involved the officials of each tour; professional golfers from all over the world have been publicly sniping at one another. No one expected either side to find any middle ground for compromise.

Well in the end, the Saudi money that backs LIV was apparently enough to heal the rift.

The Wall Street Journal:

The PGA Tour and LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed upstart that sent the industry into chaos when it teed off last year, have agreed to a stunning merger that ends the divide that has dominated the sport for the last year.

The deal weds the Saudi money and the PGA Tour name and connections after months of bruising litigation and sharply traded accusations. It also consolidates the biggest assets in professional golf—at a time when golf bodies including the Tour are being investigated by the Justice Department for antitrust violations.

The allure of LIV for PGA Tour players is obvious. The tournaments are shorter — 54 holes instead of 72 — but the prize money is still huge. The biggest draw is that PGA Tour professionals have been paid large sums of money up front to join LIV. For example, two-time major tournament winner Dustin Johnson was reportedly paid $125 million to sign on with LIV. That’s a nice chunk of change before ever having to tee up.

Challenges to professional sports leagues/organizations in the United States aren’t new, of course. Most fall by the wayside after a few years. Some, like the Indoor Football League, survive by greatly overhauling gameplay and the fan experience. I can attest that IFL games are insanely fun to watch in person. Once in a great while, the plucky newcomer will merge with the established organization, the most notable examples being the American Football League and the American Basketball Association, which merged with the National Football League and the National Basketball Association, respectively. Both of those mergers happened in the 1970s, so it’s not like this is a frequent occurrence in the American professional sports world.

Many “experts” predicted that LIV would be a nice money grab for players for a few years, then fade away after the PGA Tour revamped itself a little and kept putting pressure on the golfers. Most felt that there was too much acrimony for any kind of accord to be reached by the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. One prominent and successful American businessman nailed it on the head, though.

Business Insider:

Nearly everyone following the year-long feud between the PGA Tour and Saudi-funded LIV Golf was stunned on Tuesday when it was announced the two rivals would merge. But it was no surprise to golf fanatic and former President Donald Trump, who last summer predicted the merger would occur and that PGA Tour players who refused to accept LIV’s lucrative offers would regret it after getting nothing post-merger.

The Saudi angle has been discussed a lot in the media, but American businesses have been in bed with the House of Saud for a very, very long time. In fact, cozying up to the Saudis is one of the most consistently bipartisan things that happens in Washington. (I’ve been complaining about this both publicly and privately for years, by the way.) Singling out one business enterprise for taking the easy and abundant Saudi money while ignoring the rest of them doesn’t pack much of a punch. One might even say that it pales in comparison to the fact that the NBA is essentially in a committed relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.

Whatever one’s personal feelings on all of this are, the fact that everyone and everything has a price will always be true, especially when it comes to anything that was made hugely popular by television.

Source : PJ Media

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