McIlroy turned down huge sums to join LIV Golf, only for the PGA Tour to get a Saudi coin. Photo: Dylan Buell/Getty Images Penny for Rory McIlroy's thoughts. Really earn that $300 million, the amount the Northern Irishman allegedly gave up to defect to the LIV.
McIlroy must be full of rage this morning. He should be. He was completely out of his depth.
If it's true that PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan kept him in the dark, as Monahan himself said Tuesday night, he should be doubly furious. I can't believe it.
McIlroy, more than anyone else, actively participated in the PGA Tour tournament. He put his reputation and his good name on the line. He mistook the bullets for Monahan.
Others who have remained loyal to the PGA and DP World Tours will rightly be furious at the lost money. Reproaching themselves for not taking advantage of the obscene wealth offered by LIV when they had the opportunity, after being warned that they would be excluded from their respective tours and sued.
However, for McIlroy, the case never was in the money. For a 34-year-old guy, this is more than enough. This merger between PGA and European Tours and the Saudi LIV promises to make it even richer.
McIlroy believed passionately that what he was doing was right. He was the face of the PGA Tour campaign against the LIV for two years. He got into a fight with fellow professionals over this. Because of this, his game suffered. And now? I didn't even warn you.
There will be those who doubt that this may be true; who will cite his ingratiating demeanor and sudden reluctance to talk about LIV at the recent PGA Championship in Oak Hill as evidence that he must have known what was going on on the fairway or in a tight spot.
But equally there is no good reason to doubt Monahan's assertion that, due to the sensitive nature of the negotiations, only two people on the PGA board knew about it, and that because it was “only” a framework agreement, he did not force McIlroy or his colleague head quarterback Tiger Woods knew until the last minute. He proved to be completely immoral.
Despite everything they've done in the past two years to protect the PGA Tour, it looks like Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods haven't been briefed on the mergerCredit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Monahan is the man who mentioned 11 casualties not too long ago September, asking his players to consider “have they ever had to apologize for being on the PGA Tour?”
A man who, according to U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, argued just a few months ago that Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses should disqualify them from major American sports, only to change tactics when the numbers got big enough. “I'm thinking maybe their concerns weren't really about human rights?” Murphy thought.
What should be McIlroy. This is the kind of hypocrisy he was involved in.
Of course, only a fool could imagine that the LIV-PGA war was ever about morality. It has always been associated with money and power. But for McIlroy, there was something more pure. For the better part of two years, he was unequivocal, unwavering in his position against the LIV. Who can forget his blunt “you make your bed, you lie in it” comment when asked last year about the “sports flush” criticism of LIV golfers? This merger completely knocked him out from under his feet.
The capitulation of PGA and DP World Tours has left its mark. players feel betrayed
It is clear that much remains to be explained about the new entity. How will it work? Who will keep the balance of power? What will be the implications for the Ryder Cup? But at the very least, he must be very sick of risking his reputation by defending an organization that allegedly opposed the LIV on moral grounds, only to then run away with them without even telling him.
How much McIlroy and Woods really knew about the deal when they found out about it, whether they were campaigning against it, will no doubt come to light. Perhaps they, like Monahan on Tuesday, will argue that a merger round is a good thing. A necessary truce from which the game can move on (in particular, McIlroy does not have much choice in this matter – either this or resign). Maybe so.
But as Andrew Coltart pointed out to Sky Sports, the Northern Irishman must be wondering what all this is for.
“He [McIlroy] has given his heart and soul for the past two years, possibly to the detriment of his own golfing,” Coltart said. “I have to wonder how much he knew about it.
“But there is absolutely no doubt that if he did, it would be an incredible distraction. And he would wonder what it took so much time and effort to get to this point.”
Do you think the PGA-LIV merger is a good solution to golf's controversy? PGA Tour Poll, DP World Tour and LIV Golf Merger: Winners and Losers
WinnersYaseer Al Rumayan
The governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) is arguably the most powerful person in the golfing world right now. He will become chairman of a new commercial company that will combine the commercial operations of PGA, DP World Tour and LIV Golf.
Al Rumayan is already chairman of PIF-owned Newcastle United. Crucially, the golf deal means that costly and potentially inconvenient litigation between tours has already ended. Court documents filed on behalf of the PIF in March already described themselves and Al-Rumayyan as “a sovereign tool of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and an acting minister of the Saudi government.”
This prompted calls for a new investigation into Newcastle's ownership following a 2021 Premier League talk of “legally binding guarantees that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not control Newcastle”. Al Rumayan hailed the new measures in golf as a new era that will benefit both players and fans. “There is no doubt that the LIV has had a positive impact on golf,” he said.
Yasser Al Rumayyan, chairman of Newcastle United, emerges from this saga as the most powerful man in golf. Those golfers who took the money and joined the LIV will likely be happy with their decision today. Not only have their bank accounts increased dramatically over the last year, they are also now part of the same tour with all its traditions along with those who have remained loyal to the PGA and DP World Tours. “It's a beautiful day today,” Mickleson said, prompting a backlash from Greg Norman Jr., whose father is the CEO of LIV, with five emojis.
Donald Trump may also feel like Nostradamus after his prediction last year. “All those golfers who remain 'loyal' to the very disloyal PGA in all its various forms will pay a heavy price when the inevitable merger with the LIV occurs,” Trump tweeted. “If you don't take the money now, you won't get anything after the merger and will only tell you how smart the original signers were.”
The Ryder Cup
Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Jan Poulter and Henrik Stenson have opted out of the DP World Tour and are ineligible for this year's Ryder Cup, which runs from September 29 to October 1. These players can now return as the new venture has promised to put in place a “fair and objective process” for players to reapply for membership after this season ends. The exact timeline is currently unclear, but the prospects for Europe and the US to field their very best players have just grown significantly.
Keith Pelley, chief executive of the DP World Tour, first brought the PIF into the professional game with the opening of Saudi International in 2019 and is considered to have played a key role in the peace talks. .
“This is a significant day,” he said. “Together we will be stronger than ever and have everything we need to continue to spread the game around the world.”
Ian Poulter can now earn another reward in the Ryder Cup. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images LosersPGA Tour and Jay Monahan
It is true that the PGA Tour will benefit financially from a large capital investment by the PIF, which will initially be the exclusive investor in the new golf business structure, but at what cost will the reputation of the organization and the reputation of its commissioner be?
Previously, Monahan referred to the LIV as “a foreign monarchy that spends billions of dollars to buy the game of golf.” He also cited the 9/11 disaster, dismissing the LIV's plans. “I think you need to live under a rock not to know that there are serious consequences,” he said. “Two families close to me lost loved ones [on 9/11]. I would like to ask any player who has left, or any player who has ever considered leaving, have you ever had to apologize for being on the PGA Tour?”
In addition to the hypocrisy, PGA Tour players are clearly unhappy with the lack of communication and consultation, with some taking to social media immediately to express their shock at the announcement.
Jay Monahan (left) made a remarkable turn. Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images Rory McIlroy
Over the past year, no player has given more of himself publicly to defend the PGA Tour against LIV Golf. He has spoken out repeatedly in press conferences and interviews, describing the golf fracture as “out of control” and personally criticizing some of those players who have jumped ship. “There is no place in the world of golf for LIV Golf,” he said. “I don't agree with what LIV is doing. If LIV leaves tomorrow, I will be very happy.” However, the tone has changed markedly over the past month when, after acknowledging that the arrival of LIV has benefited all elite players, he silenced the spat.
When asked if it would be a conscious decision to try not to talk about it, he simply answered yes and said he didn't know what the sport would be like in the future.
McIlroy is believed to have turned down hundreds of millions in offers to play in LIV Golf events.
The 68-year-old former Open champion was the public face of LIV Golf last year, but his absence from the statement is conspicuous. Indeed, according to Al-Rumayan, chairman of the new commercial golf corporation, Norman was informed of the historic deal shortly before it went public.
Norman became a hugely important figure in golf's civic life. war, with Woods previously saying there can't be a handshake between the parties because Norman “has to go” first.
The Australian learned of the deal minutes before a TV interview aired on CNBC with tour commissioner Jay Monahan. and Al Rumayan, Governor of the Saudi Arabian State Investment Fund.
“I called right before this and of course he is our partner and all the stakeholders that we have, they called me right before this interview,” Al-Rumayyan said.
Norman was invited to the Masters in April not to “limit the drama,” according to Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley. Eighteen LIV golfers competed in the Masters.