Home Golf PGA Tour-Saudi bombshell, Jay Monahan, U.S. Open

PGA Tour-Saudi bombshell, Jay Monahan, U.S. Open

PGA Tour-Saudi bombshell, Jay Monahan, U.S. Open


Rory McIlroy hits a shot on Sunday on the seventh gap at Oakdale Golf & Nation Membership.

Getty Photographs

Examine in each week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors as they break down the most popular matters within the sport, and be part of the dialog by tweeting us @golf_com. This week, we talk about the PGA Tour-Saudi bombshell, Jay Monahan, the U.S. Open and extra.

1. The golf world was turned the other way up with the stunning information that the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf would merge their industrial operations and kind one frequent possession. We broke all of it down in an emergency version of Tour Confidential the day it occurred — be sure that to test that out right here — however there are nonetheless a couple of lingering matters we now have but to cowl. Right here’s one: Is that this the top of LIV Golf, and in that case, how simple, or troublesome, ought to it’s for LIV gamers to return to the PGA Tour or DP World Tour?

Jay Monahan, Rory McIlroy and Yasir Al-Rumayyan.

Tour Confidential: The stunning PGA Tour-LIV Golf merger; winners, what it means, what we all know


GOLF Editors

Josh Sens, senior author (@joshsens): My finest guess is that LIV goes away in identify, at the least, together with these ridiculously named groups. The crew idea will stay on in some kind, however it will likely be a small a part of the massive image. The overarching construction might be a world golf circuit, with a choose variety of top-tier occasions for an elite crop of gamers, and a relegation system just like that of the Premier League in soccer, by means of which the underside guys drop out and new guys rise every year. As for ‘returning,’ I feel that’s the mistaken approach to consider it. If it is a merger, and golf is now primarily one entity (irrespective of how the parents in cost need to spin it), these guys by no means actually left. The highest guys who joined LIV may have a simple time again. As a substitute of punishing the fellows who ‘left,’ the brand new Tour, no matter it winds up being referred to as, will extra possible work to incentivize/compensate the fellows who stayed.

Sean Zak, senior author (@sean_zak): I anticipate LIV having a little bit of a runway nonetheless. Gamers signed contracts for 4 years, and that is merely yr 2 of these offers. In the event that they’re purchased out, is it the identical firm (the merged operations LLC) that may droop them? I truly suppose letting LIV play out its 2024 season might be sensible. Give it yet one more season to see if there’s any magic within the crew idea, and reprove the worth of visiting Australia. Heck, do two tournaments in Australia! That’ll all be nice knowledge factors for the “empirical analysis” that Monahan asserts might be carried out about LIV.

James Colgan, information and options editor (@jamescolgan26): I are inclined to lean on the facet of LIV persevering with to exist. No cause for Yasir Al-Rumayyan and the PIF to dump a couple of billion right into a league solely to trash it a couple of months later. It’ll positively tackle a brand new kind, most likely by taking a backseat to the Tour schedule. However I don’t know if I imagine Jay Monahan has the facility to unilaterally smight LIV from the earth only for kicks. 

Dylan Dethier, senior author (@dylan_dethier): I dunno, man. [Copies and pastes for all other merger-related questions.] Do they even know? It feels as if they’re holding all choices open whereas they iron out the main points. The one factor that appears sure is that LIV’s try and compete instantly with Tour occasions received’t look the identical subsequent yr.

2. Did this deal save the Ryder Cup?

liv golf pga tour

PGA Tour, LIV Golf announce plan to merge in gorgeous reversal


Sean Zak

Zak: The Ryder Cup was positive! The truth is, I feel it’s principally the least-impacted factor. All this transfer did was make it extra acceptable for Brooks Koepka to earn a captain’s choose reasonably than having to earn his approach onto Group America. As for the Euros, Sergio Garcia gave up his DP World Tour membership, the primary standards for making a crew. So he received’t be accessible for a choose. Might Ian Poulter get a range to captain the following crew, in 2025 at Bethpage? Sure, that turns into simpler. However that’s nonetheless so distant. 

Sens: Precisely. The Ryder Cup didn’t want saving. I’d say it was truly going to be extra fascinating with out the LIV guys, as we’d have seen new names thrown into the fireplace. I used to be particularly curious to see how Group Europe may reconstitute itself. Most of its LIV guys had aged out already., Sergio, Westwood, Poulter? We’ve seen these guys in loads of Ryder Cups already. Similar with guys like DJ on the American facet. Convey within the new blood.

Colgan: It most likely saved future European crew captainhood. The record of future Euro-side leaders was frighteningly slim beneath the schism. Now some huge names reenter the combination.

Dethier: It might have truly hampered this yr’s European facet, as LIV gamers appear to have a better path to the American crew than Group Europe for this yr’s competitors. However yeah, the Ryder Cup will stay nice so long as it has participant buy-in. This most likely helps in that division.

3. A number of gamers have criticized PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, saying he both misled them or didn’t talk effectively sufficient. In the meantime, Rory McIlroy stated he felt like a “sacrificial lamb” with all the hassle he put in publicly and behind the scenes supporting the PGA Tour. How a lot of a success did Monahan’s fame take with this, does it even matter, and is there anybody who needs to be extra irritated by final week’s occasions than McIlroy?

rory mcilroy speaks canadian open

Rory McIlroy was the PGA Tour’s spokesman. They made him a ‘sacrificial lamb’


James Colgan

Zak: Monahan’s fame took an enormous hit. Maybe the best hit a significant sport commissioner has taken whereas little doubt retaining his job. Gamers should not inclined to belief him. The sympathetic execs will wait it out and see what his subsequent transfer is. The priorities of Tour execs appear to be this: 

1. Cash




All the pieces else. 

Positive, a part of that “all the pieces else” is the hypocrisy concerned within the deal and the onerous questions they’ll absolutely face when their earnings formally come from the PIF of Saudi Arabia, however that’s down the road. For now, Jay can rescue this by delivering an enormous sum of money and stability. (I’m afraid he simply may do it, too.) 

Re: Rory, nobody deserves to be extra irritated than him. I sympathize with him. I hope Tour execs commend him for what he did within the final yr. I don’t know that they may. 

Sens: Monahan’s phrases and actions make him the definition of a hypocrite. However he’s hardly the primary govt to compromise his private fame within the identify of revenue. Monahan’s first job was to take care of his group’s backside line, and so he did that, realizing that he’d rightly be blasted for the two-facedness. Does it matter? I think Monahan will sleep simply positive, and that public reminiscence round this might be quick. Bread and circus. Protecting the plenty distracted with leisure is an historical apply. And it really works. 

That stated, I do suspect Monahan might be pressured out of his job earlier than later. He spent many months blasting the Saudis. CEOs serve on the pleasure of the chairman of the board.Yasir Al-Rumayyan is now chairman of the board. Straightforward for the Saudis to switch Monahan with somebody who has not been brazenly essential of the Saudi regime. So, that’s what I think: Monahan ousted, however with a pre-negotiated golden parachute to melt the touchdown.

Ought to Rory be irritated? Positive. However so ought to anybody who’s exhausted by the best way that cash guidelines over character, time after time.

Colgan: Monahan without end modified his legacy on Tuesday and possibly for the more serious, relying in your perspective on human rights. I feel the 9/11 households have a good declare to being extra irritated than McIlroy, contemplating the best way the Tour exploited their very-real tragedy. At the very least Rory was a pawn and acquired paid. 

Dethier: Final summer time, McIlroy labored onerous as hell to get execs to purchase in to his new imaginative and prescient for the PGA Tour. That form of cohesion by no means occurs on Tour, and it required a leap of religion from McIlroy and from the professionals who adopted him. This deal — and the truth that they have been all left in the dead of night throughout its negotiation — made ’em all look dumb. I’m unsure if it will have been potential, given the clandestine nature of those conferences, but it surely appears like a heads-up and a few dialogue would have gone a good distance on that entrance.

4. What’s an neglected ingredient to this that nobody appears to be speaking about that we must always?

jay monahan cnbc interview

A dummy’s information to the LIV/PGA Tour merger: Answering 21 burning questions


James Colgan

Zak: An neglected ingredient of that is that Jay Monahan doesn’t do plenty of media. He’s accomplished 4 press conferences prior to now yr — probably the most turbulent within the sport’s historical past — two casual classes with solely on-site press (each when he was ready to talk about non-LIV issues), and a pair unique interviews. If anybody goes to should reply the powerful questions transferring ahead, will it’s Jay? Will it’s Jimmy Dunne? Does it should be the highest gamers, like McIlroy? Will Monahan put himself on the market extra regularly to set the file straight throughout these instances of such little element. All I’ll say is there’s a cause Greg Norman does mainly no press conferences. There’s a cause Phil Mickelson will get his factors throughout on Twitter dot com. The questions aren’t simple and if you don’t reply them definitively, they don’t go away. They linger.

Sens: As the main points of this deal take form, what occurs to the Champions Tour? The Korn Ferry Tour? What are the broader implications for lower-ranked golfers attempting to maneuver their approach up? Will this open up extra alternatives into the sport? Or just deepen the pockets and strengthen the standing of the fellows who have already got it made?

Colgan: Did the PGA Tour critically NOT inform its TV companions — who pay them greater than $800 million yearly — that this was taking place? The reply is sure, from sources I’ve spoken to.  That may be a … BIG deal. The Tour higher hope the language in these contracts is ironclad, as a result of they will’t afford to exist with out that cash and publicity. 

Dethier: It’s not essentially neglected, but it surely stays the important query of the entire thing: Who’s truly in cost now?

5. OK, ought to we speak concerning the U.S. Open? The third main of the yr begins on Thursday at Los Angeles Nation Membership, though a lot of the dialogue subsequent week will nonetheless be dominated by the aforementioned merger. What’s a non-Brooks Koepka U.S. Open storyline you may’t wait to see unfold?

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Lights, digital camera, motion! Why U.S. Open-host Los Angeles simply stands out as the golfiest place in America


Josh Sens

Zak: I’m anxious to see if Phil Mickelson will change his tune. He has thus far been a unique speaker in public than in non-public. Will final week’s information lastly give him cause to talk at size on these points in entrance of media? Or will he preserve his quick, easy supply? I do know this most likely doesn’t get anybody excited for the birdies and bogeys, but it surely issues within the storytelling of a championship from begin to end. We’ll get a solution shortly!

Sens: This can be a dwelling recreation for So Cal natives Max Homa and Collin Morikawa. Will they profit from the course data, or endure from the added weight of expectations? Then there’s Scottie Scheffler, who ought to just about be profitable all the pieces primarily based on how he’s hitting the ball. Can he type out his quick recreation this week?

Colgan: Rory McIlroy with the prospect to exorcise his main demons by rage-winning a U.S. Open at a timeless course and flipping a middle-finger to the Tour? Sure, please.

Dethier: Will this shock Saudi deal — and his apparent frustration on the approach it happened — function Xander Schauffele’s Joker second, radicalizing him, lighting a hearth beneath his golf recreation and releasing him as much as win this week’s U.S. Open (and proving me right within the course of)?

6. Talking of Koepka, he enters this week coming off his fifth main title and seemingly within the kind that made him probably the most dominant main participant of the previous decade. Does this course swimsuit him? And can he end in or exterior the highest 5?

brooks koepka pga championship

2023 post-PGA inventory index: Brooks Koepka, LIV up; Phil’s tweets, scorching mics down


James Colgan

Zak: Firstly, I’m curious if he’ll contemplate LIV-PGA Tour questions a “black cloud” over the U.S. Open. He has the chance to make an incredible joke in his pre-tournament presser, tipping the cap to his viral presser final yr. Any U.S. Open setup fits Brooks Koepka, doesn’t matter the place it’s. It’s all demeanor with him. He’ll most likely shoot even par within the first spherical after which do what he at all times does … rise slowly however absolutely by making no double bogeys and carving a couple of 68s into the scoreboard. All of the sudden, on Saturday evening, he’s two again and everybody thinks he’ll win. That stated, he hasn’t precisely earned a bunch of aggressive reps this month. So I’ll guess it’s an outside-the-top-5 end. 

Sens: Koepka on a tricky course is like Brer Rabbit within the briar patch: nowhere is he extra at dwelling. I’d be stunned if he’s not within the high 5. Historical past exhibits that when he’s wholesome, he’s extra more likely to be within the high 2 or 3.

Colgan: He’ll end within the high 5. The summer time of Brooks is totally upon us.

Dethier: To cite Michael Scott: Idiot me as soon as? Strike one. However idiot me twice? Strike three. Koepka someway entered the Masters off our radar. He received the PGA. He’s now completed within the high seven in 14 of the previous 22 majors he’s performed. He’s on the quick record of men who can be larger surprises in the event that they didn’t content material than in the event that they did. So long as he’s totally recovered from PGA and Panthers celebrations, that’s.

7. Rapidly: The profitable U.S. Open rating the previous three years has been six-under. Will this yr’s rating be higher or worse than that? And why?

After nearly being killed when his car was hit by a bus in 1949, Hogan spent two months in the hospital. He returned to competition at the 1950 L.A. Open, where he lost in a playoff to Sam Snead.

Hollywood Hogan: Ben Hogan dominated in all places in his prime — particularly Los Angeles


Michael Corcoran

Zak: Worse. Put the champ down for a gritty three-under victory. It needs to be rip-roaring quick, and apparently fairly penal for lacking fairways. Bogey-free rounds ought to earn crystals like Augusta Nationwide passes out for the low rating of the day. I hope we don’t see a single one.

Sens: Higher. Speaking to somebody who is aware of the course and the setup effectively, I’m advised that with a cool spring, the tough just isn’t as juicy as was hoped. After all, we’ll see a number of social media posts exhibiting balls vanishing within the thick stuff and listen to a number of hyperventilating about how not possible the course is. We noticed and heard the identical from Oak Hill. And yeah. It was brutally powerful in Rochester. However the profitable rating was nonetheless nine-under.

Colgan: Higher. Eight-under wins. Too many scoring holes for 4 days and the most effective gamers on the earth to remain nearer to even-par. 

Dethier: I’ll say worse, however solely as a result of that’s what I can’t assist however root for. Let’s get a little bit chaotic! In any case, there’s one factor that may actually unify golf: frustration with the U.S. Open course setup.

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