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    RADIO ROXI TIMELESS TUNES

Sports News

An inside look at LIV Golf and what’s next for Rory McIlroy and co in sport’s bitter civil war

today25/12/2023

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It’s been nearly two years now since LIV Golf exploded onto the scene with Saudi Arabia’s riches completely transforming the golf landscape.

LIV’s explosive arrival immediately caused divisions in the men’s game with those staunchly against it and others defending their choice to jump ship from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.


That bad blood from early 2022 has died down somewhat now, particularly following Jon Rahm’s shock £450million switch to LIV.

The Spaniard’s move is the most significant departure from the PGA Tour given his previous stance against LIV.

Jon Rahm's switch changes everything for the PGA Tour

Jon Rahm’s switch changes everything for the PGA Tour

PA

But the PGA Tour can hardly be surprised by Rahm’s switch for two main reasons.
Firstly is the money on offer.

The likes of Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka were lambasted for choosing money over their legacy on the PGA Tour when they first made the switch.

That ferocity was not apparent for Rahm when his announcement was made with Rory McIlroy reserved and more disappointed than angry.

This all stems from the shock merger agreement that LIV and the PGA agreed to this past summer.

The announcement of the merger came on the same day as Karim Benzema signed a mega contract with Saudi champions Al-Ittihad.

It was seen as a huge step down for PGA Tour commissioner, Jay Monahan, who previously ruled that a merger was “not in the cards”.

The announcement of the merger also came as a shock for the PGA Tour’s unofficial spokesman McIlroy, who reiterated his “hate” for LIV.

“I hate them. I hope it goes away. We just can’t welcome them back in,” he said. “It’s hard not to feel like I was a sacrificial lamb.

“I’ve come to terms with it. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that this is what’s going to happen.”

That dejected tone was clear in McIlroy’s words and has been present in every answer he’s given on LIV since.

The Northern Irishman isn’t alone in appearing fed up with the ordeal as Viktor Hovland has also taken aim at the PGA Tour for the closed-door discussions from the merger talks this summer.

Yasir Al-Rumayyan now has a prominent role in the world of golf

Yasir Al-Rumayyan now has a prominent role in the world of golf

PA

“The management has not done a good job,” said Hovland. “They almost see the players as labour, and not as part of the members. After all, we are the PGA Tour. Without the players, there is nothing.

There remains a 31 December deadline for the PGA Tour and DP World Tour to finalise their partnership with LIV Golf.

What that means for next year and how it will affect McIlroy and co remains to be seen.
Under the initial agreement, the PGA Tour will remain a nonprofit organisation and will keep full control of its tournaments.

But the biggest change will be commercially with all three main tours being governed by a new entity with Monahan acting as the CEO and Yasir Al-Rumayyan also sitting on the board.

Rory McIlroy will want some clarity for next year

Rory McIlroy will want some clarity for next year

PA

Importantly, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund will be funding the new entity entirely.

But the hold-up on the merger appears to be in regards to the finer details on how the whole golf landscape and schedule will look going forward.

However, it appears as though the LIV Golfers will benefit the most as reports suggest they’ll now have a route back to playing on the PGA Tour.

For McIlroy, that might be the ultimate slap in the face after stating he didn’t want to just “welcome them back in”.

The next few weeks are set to be huge for professional golf’s landscape as a whole and nobody truly knows what 2024 has in store.

But one thing for certain is that competitive golf will look very different this time next year.

Whether that’s a good or bad thing is up for debate.



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