Seth Waugh has a busy week ahead as the CEO of the PGA of America.
The PGA Championship begins on Thursday and he will hope the event can follow the Masters in presenting a harmonious picture of golf – a picture which hasn’t been all too clear in the last 12 months.
18 LIV Golf players are set to tee it up at Oak Hill in pursuit of major glory, but also some cherished Official World Golf Ranking points they currently have limited access to.
Waugh is also on the governing board of the OWGR which is overlooking LIV’s application to gain ranking legitimacy in the game – something that can help Greg Norman’s roster qualify for more major championships.
DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley, PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan, and USGA CEO Mike Whan also sit on the OWGR board with Waugh.
But while speaking to the Times, the former Deutsche Bank CEO outlined some key issues he sees with the Saudi-financed league.
“Their logic about the team play being something significant that people can get behind I think is flawed,” he said. “I don’t think people really care about it.
“And I don’t see how it’s a survivable business model.
“They can fund it for as long as they want to, but no matter how much money you have, at some point burning it doesn’t feel very good.
“I don’t see they are accomplishing much. It seems logical to me, then, that you would work towards some sort of agreement. I hope the game comes back together in some form.”
LIV’s most high-profile players, such as Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, are rumoured to have been paid nine-figure sums to join the rebel tour which features a $25 million purse at each event.
After the DP World Tour won the right to impose hefty fines on its members who’ve played in the LIV Golf League, the start-up circuit has reportedly shouldered a significant chunk of this financial burden.
In 2022, LIV formed an alliance with the MENA Tour in an attempt to make further progress with their OWGR application.
The league will also introduce a Q-School-type event later this year, including promotion and relegation to satisfy more criteria to gain world ranking points.
But Waugh, who became PGA of America CEO in September 2018, detailed a breakdown in communication between the OWGR and LIV and the stumbling blocks the circuit still faces.
“There are certain parts of their structure that can be solved by math, but there may be some pretty fundamental things that are harder,” he added.
“There’s the potential conflict with the team aspect and then access – how do you get relegated and promoted?
“They had our latest response weeks ago and we haven’t heard back. They have made a bad assumption that this will be a quick process.
“It never has been. Every application has taken a year-plus as far as I’m aware – I can’t speculate because they have not responded.
“They may have to solve things as well, and it’s not clear whether they’re willing to.”
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