PGA Tour paying price for not crushing LIV Golf from start

The empire struck again on Wednesday, nevertheless it was too little too late.

Such is the state of the PGA Tour after commissioner Jay Monahan’s newest chess transfer — an act that smacked of desperation as he introduced a revamped, condensed schedule that caters to the tour’s elite with extra profitable purses — in an effort to stave off the Greg Norman-led LIV Golf sequence.

Nevertheless it by no means wanted to come back to this, as a result of Monahan and the PGA Tour had an opportunity to chop off the Saudi-backed tour idea at its knees again within the fall had they been proactive.

As a substitute, they took an strategy that may solely be perceived as grasping and conceited and now they’ve change into reactive, discovering themselves on the defensive.

The disgrace for them is that it by no means needed to attain this stage, and this isn’t factor for the PGA Tour or, extra importantly, golf.

To overview: The Put up reported solely in February that three high-level PGA Tour gamers together with a deep-pocketed investor made a proposal to Monahan that might have eradicated the specter of the Saudi-backed tour.

In keeping with three impartial sources — two of which had been gamers — with intimate information of that proposal, the PGA Tour squashed the choice idea.

The idea, which was offered to Monahan in October, consisted of an eight-event group sequence that includes the highest gamers within the sport that might be blended into the PGA Tour’s present schedule. These occasions would have changed a number of the Tour’s fledgling occasions, which the player-investor group would purchase from the Tour.

Jay Monahan and Greg Norman
Jay Monahan and Greg Norman
USA TODAY Sports activities; Getty Photos

In keeping with one of many sources, the monetary backer of the group, who’s already in enterprise with the PGA Tour on its legalized playing facet, dedicated to speculate $500 million up entrance to get the idea began with one other $500 million to come back because the idea gained footing.

The catch: These eight occasions had been going to be participant and investor-owned (50 p.c every), and that didn’t go well with the fits at PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Seashore, Fla. — regardless that it was clear this might put an finish to the Saudi LIV Golf risk.

Monahan introduced the proposal to the chairman of the PGA Tour’s Coverage Board, Ed Herlihy, and on Oct. 30, based on one of many sources, it was shot down by Herlihy, a robust company legal professional, who informed the investor: “If it’s not 100% owned and managed by the PGA Tour, it is going to be considered as hostile.’’

Take into consideration what has transpired since then.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan
Getty Photos

LIV Golf has been gaining momentum by the day as gamers defect from the PGA Tour. On Wednesday, Brooks Koepka, who’s ranked nineteenth on the planet and has gained 4 main championships since 2018, turned the newest PGA Tour star to announce his involvement with LIV.

He follows Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell and a variety of different huge names already on board cashing the Saudi checks. All three of the gamers who had been part of that player-investor proposal to Monahan are part of LIV Golf.

One of many sources who was part of the proposal mentioned that when their monetary backer informed Monahan, “Jay, I imagine this Saudi league goes to occur and this might be an effective way to thwart it off,’’ Monahan replied, “I don’t imagine it’s going to occur.’’

Quick-forward to Wednesday and hearken to Monahan’s reply when he was requested, “Looking back, did you or the PGA Tour underestimate affect that the LIV Golf enterprise would have.’’

“I don’t imagine so,’’ Monahan mentioned. “I’ve taken it very significantly from the outset. So, I wouldn’t … I wouldn’t counsel that I’ve underestimated it in any respect.’’

Apart from saying the suspension of the 17 PGA Tour gamers who competed within the first LIV occasion two weeks in the past in London, Monahan has been conspicuously quiet as Norman and the LIV group have poached a few of his greatest stars.

That passive public strategy, based on gamers, has been off-putting, with lots of them wanting a present of power from him.

Thus, maybe, Wednesday’s public lashing out at LIV, throughout which Monahan denounced the Saudi-backed sequence as a “international monarchy that’s spending billions of {dollars} in an try to purchase the sport of golf.’’

He additionally mentioned, “We welcome good wholesome competitors, however the LIV Saudi golf league just isn’t that. It’s an irrational risk that’s not involved with a return on funding or true development of the sport.’’

Together with these combating phrases, Monahan additionally revealed a revamped schedule that caters to the tour’s elite with some $54 million in added purses and, at the least partly, resembles some that proposal offered to the Tour within the fall.

With so many high stars already having left for LIV Golf and extra anticipated to observe, all of it sounded too little, too late on the a part of the PGA Tour commissioner and his superiors, who appeared so hellbent on having all of it that they overlooked the risk they may have snuffed out months in the past.

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