After 12 months of extensive talks, disruptions, and broken promises, Jay Monahan’s proposed merger between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and LIV Golf was finally announced, and it has not gone down well, especially with the families of 9/11 victims. The major players in the merger are from Saudi Arabia, and even with all their riches, they cannot buy the sentiments of the general public.
The PGA Tour commissioner is in the hot seat again, feeling the pressure with cries of resignation. Before the announcement of the Saudi-backed merger to the general public, they had a closed-door “heated” meeting. It’s not that surprising, as Monahan went back on his words from last year, that anyone who takes money from LIV golf cannot participate in the PGA Tour.
However, Monahan claims he knows that he will be labeled a “hypocrite.” He defended himself, claiming that whenever he said something, it was based on “the information I had at that moment.” While he welcomes the criticism, he reminded everyone that “circumstances do change” and it’s better to look at the bigger picture.
Monahan may be thinking about the big picture, but it’s the smaller stories that get pushed aside. Especially considering his words relating to the parallels of Saudi Arabia and 9/11 to get the general public in the PGA’s favor. The disappointed family groups of the victims feel “shocked and deeply offended” by the decision. They believe it’s an attempt to “sports wash money.” Monahan later explained that his heart is with the victim’s family.
However, the group’s chair,Terry Strada, said that their “entire community is betrayed by Monahan” and the officials’ concern about the victims is ” merely window dressing in their quest for money.”
Amnesty International fears that dirty money will bankroll Monahan’s newly merged PGA tournament
Amnesty International UK’s head of priority campaigns and individuals at risk, Felix Jakens, is also in agreement with the potential “Saudi sportswashing” BBC reported. For the uninitiated, the merger will see PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan chair the new board of governors. This will give them the power to invest more and even refuse other capital. According to Jakens, this is a ploy to cleanse Saudi of its horrendous human rights record with positive media PR.
Jakens has been a vocal critique of Saudi takeovers in various sports.
Yasir Al-Rumayyan may sound like a familiar name to football fans, as his firm owns a majority stake in English Premier League side Newcastle United.
Monahan will take over as the chief executive of the newly formed tournament and has high praise for Al-Rumayyan for his “vision and collaborative and forward-thinking approach.” According to him, the new merger “will engender a new era in global golf, for the better.”
It seems Donald Trump’swords came true. The former US president warned the participants of the PGA Tour that they would “regret” the merger.
Nevertheless, the merger signaled massive investments from the Saudi side into the top-tier golf scene. It’s hard to decipher whether this will be a massive success or just an afterthought; it will be clear in a few years.
Ishan Misra is a journalist at Firstsportz. A Master's degree holder in English from Kolkata. He currently covers NFL news. He is also a massive Chelsea FC fan and loves talking about football. When he is not working, you might find him reading graphic novels and watching retro movies.
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