Professional golf’s PGA Tour has again confirmed what far too many jaded sports fans already know: When it comes to a standoff between stated “principles” and money, cold hard cash always wins.
After spending well over a year belligerently slamming “defectors” to the rival LIV Golf tour as soulless mercenaries chasing Saudi-backed “blood money,” the Tour abruptly reversed course on June 6, agreeing to merge with its controversial rival. The DP World Tour, better known as the European PGA Tour, is also a part of the deal.
Here’s the best joke making the rounds, by the way: Tournaments will now be split three ways, with the PGA Tour running holes 1-8, the DP World Tour holes 12-18, and the Saudis in charge of 9-11.
The announcement surprised most Tour players and even LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, who reportedly was not informed until moments before the merger was finalized. Norman has always been seen as a figurehead for the Saudi financial backers at LIV. But nobody is coming out of the shocking development looking worse than PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.
‘Any Hypocrisy, I Have to Own’
When LIV emerged as a bona fide threat to the Tour’s financial empire in early 2022, Monahan led the way in waving the moral outrage flag over dastardly connivance with dirty Saudi money.
“I would ask any player that has left, or any player that would ever consider leaving, have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?” Monahan said last year of those who joined LIV. He is now being roundly pilloried for the sudden U-turn, something he knew would occur.
“As we sit here today, I understand the criticism I’m receiving around the hypocrisy and me being hypocritical given my commentary and my actions over the last couple of years,” he told Golf Today in an interview on the merger. “But any hypocrisy, I have to own. Nobody else. That’s on me. It shouldn’t be directed at the membership. It should be directed at me.”
“There are always things that you would change,” Monahan said in reference to his strongly worded past criticisms of LIV. “And what I’ve tried to do is – at every single moment, with the information that I had, and my knowledge of where things stand – try and make the best decisions and communicate those decisions to the membership.”
Terms such as “things you would change” and the more damning “hypocrisy” only mask the true ugliness of Monahan’s actions. This man used the deaths of Americans on Sept. 11, 2001, as leverage in a financial battle with a business competitor.
“Monahan co-opted the 9/11 community last year in the PGA’s unequivocable agreement that the Saudi LIV project was nothing more than the sportwashing of Saudi Arabia’s reputation,” 9/11 Families United chair Terry Strada, whose husband was killed at the World Trade Center, said in a blistering statement. “But now the PGA and Monahan appear to have become just more paid Saudi shills, taking billions of dollars to cleanse the Saudi reputation so that Americans and the world will forget how the Kingdom spent their billions of dollars before 9/11 to fund terrorism, spread their vitriolic hatred of Americans, and finance al Qaeda and the murder of our loved ones.”
PGA Tour: Flaunting Wokeness Doesn’t Mean You Have Principles
Much like the NBA, which loves to lecture its American fans about “racial justice” while being financially tied to the tyrannical hip of Asian communist superpower China, the PGA Tour has been insufferable in its political gesticulations in recent years.
As Liberty Nation noted in March, a database of corporate supporters to the Black Lives Matter movement revealed that the Tour had donated a whopping $100 million to the radical organization, which has been plagued by scandal over how that money has been spent.
The Tour also publicly grandstanded against President Donald Trump, an avid golfer and course owner, during his time in office. Just days after the events of Jan. 6, 2021, it joined in on the monolithic “insurrectionist” narrative rolled out by Democrats and their allies in the dominant media establishment. The Tour pulled its 2022 PGA Championship, one of the four annual major tournaments in golf, from Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ.
All of this is a symptom of a larger crisis that threatens the integrity of professional and big-time college sports: There is simply too much money involved. The NBA kowtows to China because the business opportunities there are too good to ignore. Decrying Uighur slave labor is fine up to a point. But when billions of dollars are at stake, alleged moral sensibilities become quickly muted.
LIV Golf took off in the first place because leading PGA Tour players, already awash in lucrative earnings, felt they were being ripped off by the association when it came to further moneymaking opportunities. “It’s not public knowledge, all that goes on,” superstar Phil Mickelson told Golf Digest in February 2022. “But the players don’t have access to their own media. If the Tour wanted to end any threat [from Saudi Arabia], they could just hand back the media rights to the players. But they would rather throw $25 million here and $40 million there than give back the roughly $20 billion in digital assets they control. Or give up access to the $50-plus million they make every year on their own media channel.”
Mickelson went on to complain that the Tour charges $30,000 per second for public use of video of his famous shot out of the pine straw at the 13th hole of the 2010 Masters tournament. He is not upset at that hefty price tag, but rather that he cannot control this cash cow himself. Mickelson has a reported net worth of $875 million.
In other words, it’s a battle of rich and entitled vs rich and entitled for a heaping pile of money. Such is the world of professional sports today. Fans must decide for themselves how emotionally invested they want to be about the performances of NFL quarterbacks making $50 million a year or NBA players earning $200 million-plus guaranteed contracts. But one hard fact is irrefutable: When it comes to moral preening, not one word uttered by anyone residing in this bloated Field of (Revenue) Streams should be taken seriously.
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