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‘It had to happen – Golf can’t be split down the middle’

Founder of International Sports Management, Chubby Chandler, believes a compromise between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf was much-needed, as the PGA Tour's ability to continually increase its purses was being tested to the limit
 

Chubby Chandler believes the merger between the PGA Tour and the Public Investment Fund had to happen sooner or later.

With the PGA Tour compelled to match LIV Golf stride for stride with inflated prize purses and financial rewards for players, the former player agent questioned how long the US circuit could keep this up in future seasons.

In August 2022, tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced prize purses averaging $20 million across 12 separate elevated events for the 2023 season, as well as doubling the Player Impact Program payout to $100 million.

A compromise was much-needed in Chandler’s eyes, but he also believes a key reason for Monahan’s decision to “turn full circle” and work with the PIF was down to the financial burden being placed on the PGA Tour.

“It had to happen sooner or later,” he told NCG. “I think it happened quicker than anyone thought – but it had to happen because it couldn’t go on like it was. You can’t have golf split right down the middle.

“I think the last year has proven that LIV was going to be around for a while, and I think the PGA Tour would find it difficult to keep coming up with the extra money.

chubb chandler

“They found another $160 million to try and pacify the members – or to persuade them not to move over – and the stakes were so high in the end and for LIV to get the right players was going to cost too much.

“Some of the backing down is unbelievable. Jay Monahan has now just turned full circle to do what he said they would never do and that can only mean that the PGA Tour, in the end, was going to struggle to keep the purses where they were.

“They had to find an extra $160 million this year. How long could they keep putting that sort of money in with the revenue not going up?

Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the PIF, will become the chairman of the new entity and join Monahan on the tour’s policy board, representing a significant shake-up in golf’s leadership.

Chandler, who once managed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke, and Lee Westwood through International Sports Management, described Al-Rumayyan as a “bright man” and a “shrude operator.”

One person who wasn’t named on the new Executive Committee in the merger was Greg Norman, the current CEO of LIV Golf who has been front and centre of the breakaway tour since last summer.

Norman has vowed that LIV Golf will live on, despite McIlroy’s hopes for its demise, but Chandler raised doubts about the Australian’s future when the merger takes shape.

“I don’t think the European Tour has got anything to say in this,” Chandler added. “It’s just between the PGA Tour and LIV. The fact that the European Tour is going to benefit is great, but they’re not a mouthpiece in what is going on.

“It was clearly between the two and I think my guess would be that Greg will step aside. His job is finished now and he did what he was supposed to do and he doesn’t get on with anybody on the PGA Tour anyway so I’m not sure he’ll be around much.

“I don’t know what it’ll look like next year – I have no idea.

“For golf fans, it’ll be better and for golfers it will be better because they’ll have only one route to the top again now which is through the PGA Tour and LIV – because some players were wondering whether to go down the LIV or PGA Tour route – so that will be clearer for them.”

NOW READ: PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan ‘recuperating from medical situation’

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chubby chandler

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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