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How Saudi Arabia Bought Golf, Part 1

In a stunning turn of events, the PGA Tour has announced its partnership with LIV Golf, a league backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), causing an uproar among players and fans alike. The move has been met with accusations of hypocrisy, as just a year ago, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan labelled LIV Golf as an “irrational threat” that disregarded the growth of the game and its return on investment. Now, the PGA Tour has shamelessly aligned itself with the very league it once condemned.

The sudden change in stance by the PGA Tour caught many of its players off guard, leading to a wave of disbelief expressed on social media. Collin Morikawa tweeted, “I love finding out morning news on Twitter,” reflecting the shock and surprise among the players. The decision has raised serious questions about the PGA Tour’s principles and values.
Critics argue that by joining forces with LIV Golf, the PGA Tour is effectively condoning and benefiting from Saudi Arabia’s questionable human rights record. The country has been widely criticised for its lack of free speech, religious freedom, and mistreatment of women. The association of the PGA Tour with such a regime has ignited a moral debate within the golfing community.

One of the most prominent members of LIV Golf, Phil Mickelson, faced criticism in the past for joining the league and prioritising financial gains over ethical considerations. However, with the merger, Mickelson finds himself in the position of a major beneficiary. The perceived opportunism and lack of concern for Saudi Arabia’s immoral history exhibited by Mickelson and the PGA Tour have further fueled the outrage.

Detractors argue that the PGA Tour had the upper hand in this situation, as LIV Golf struggled to garner significant attention, sponsorship, and a dedicated fanbase. The PGA Tour had the opportunity to reclaim its position as the premier golfing league by simply waiting for LIV Golf’s decline and the potential return of its star players. However, driven by fear of losing top talent, the PGA Tour hastily grasped the same financial resources it once condemned.

Supporters of the merger claim that politics should be separated from sports and that fans simply want to witness the world’s best golfers competing. However, critics argue that the PGA Tour’s rush to secure financial gains has tainted the sport’s integrity and values. They argue that if the PGA Tour had exercised patience, it could have welcomed back star players without the stain of Saudi Arabian influence.

The decision by the PGA Tour to partner with LIV Golf has left many feeling disheartened and disappointed. Monahan’s past statements condemning the league’s approach and concerns about its impact on the game now appear hypocritical. The golfing world, fans, and players alike are left questioning the PGA Tour’s commitment to the values and principles it once championed. In the end, this merger not only represents a missed opportunity for the PGA Tour but also reflects a sad day for the sport as a whole. The PGA Tour had the chance to demonstrate its integrity and stand by its convictions, but instead, it has chosen to align itself with a regime widely criticised for its human rights abuses. This move will undoubtedly leave a stain on the reputation of the PGA Tour and raise serious doubts about its commitment to the game of golf.