It was news that stunned everyone – no matter what side of the PGA Tour/LIV Golf divide you were on.
The announcement that the PGA Tour, along with the DP World Tour, and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia had signed an agreement to “unify the game of golf” sent shockwaves through the sport.
Players from every tour, along with organisations with a key stake in the game, were soon letting everyone know their feelings on the story.
Among them was Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, who said: “We are pleased that an agreement has been reached which will help men’s professional golf move forward in a collaborative, constructive and innovative fashion.
A statement from The R&A on today’s announcement by PGA Tour, DP World Tour and PIF. pic.twitter.com/Y9COPWZps5
— The R&A (@RandA) June 6, 2023
“We care deeply about golf’s future and are committed to ensuring that the sport continues to thrive for many years to come.
“This agreement represents a huge step toward achieving that golf for golf and we look forward to working with the new entity for the benefit of the sport globally.”
As the scale of the deal began to emerge, Phil Mickelson, who has been involved in a series of twitter spats about his involvement with LIV Golf since joining the enterprise, tweeted: “Awesome day today”, while PGA Tour stalwart Collin Morikawa, turned to social media to express some surprise, saying: “I love finding out morning news on Twitter”. Replying to his own tweet, he then added: “And everyone thought yesterday was the longest day in golf“.
Donald Trump, whose golf courses have been the host for a number of LIV Golf events, belted out in capitals on his Truth Social network: “GREAT NEWS FROM LIV GOLF. A BIG BEAUTIFUL, AND GLAMOROUS DEAL FOR THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF GOLF. GONGRATS TO ALL!!!!”
Former Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington, meanwhile, put together a series of considered tweets outlining his views on the merger.
“Surprised that this merger has happened so quickly but not surprised it’s happened,” he wrote. “Definitely in the financial interest of both sides. Definitely in the financial interest of the players even though some of those who gain will feel like they’re losing. Good for the cohesion of global golf.”
Surprised that this merger has happened so quickly but not surprised it’s happened. Definitely in the financial interest of both sides. Definitely in the financial interest of the players even though some of those who gain will feel like they’re losing. Good for the cohesion of…
— Padraig Harrington (@padraig_h) June 6, 2023
Harrington then added: “Interesting outcome with the precedent set by @livgolf_league and if there’s one global professional body, they’ll have the power to dictate when and where players play around the world, similar to most professional sports,” before concluding: “Again without knowing the facts, it seems the @PGATOUR acted quickly. The tour was obviously under pressure delivering on its tv contracts with losing some of it’s [sic] marquee players to the new entity @livgolf_league. The tour by acting early, while they still have the upper hand, will end up with the controlling share in world golf.”
But while some players, those notably associated with LIV, were excited by the announcement, Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis was reporting he’d spoken with several PGA Tour players who had turned down LIV money out of loyalty and felt “betrayed and manipulated”.
Spoke with several @PGATOUR players who were a part of a meeting in Delaware that ultimately reshaped the Tour schedule. Most of those players were offered @livgolf_league money but turned it down to be loyal to the Tour. Those players told me they feel betrayed and manipulated.
— Todd Lewis (@ToddLewisGC) June 6, 2023
Brandel Chamblee, perhaps the harshest critic of LIV in the media, reportedly said on Golf Channel: “This is the saddest day in the history of professional golf.”
And 9/11 Families United, a community of more than 3,000 family members affected by the New York attacks, accused the PGA Tour of appearing to be “just more paid Saudi shills”.
Chair Terry Strada said: “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 sportwashing 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…”
9/11 Families United angrily reacts to the PGA Tour’s announcement of merging with LIV golf. “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” pic.twitter.com/X1u0a3k1yb
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 6, 2023
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