The PGA Tour always goes where the money is, no matter how dark the alley

Its partnership with bloodstained LIV Golf shows that it will do anything to survive.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan talking at a press conference last year.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan helped finalize the merger between his tour, the LIV Golf League and the DP World Tour.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

We’re all better for the merger of the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. Better for the curtain having been pulled away for good. Better for living in reality than some sappy fiction.

What the PGA Tour is about, what it’s always been about, is the making of money.

Anything associated with the Tour is simply cash dressed up in what the keepers of the game like to sell: honor, grace and sportsmanship, with Jim Nantz’ buttery voice and some chirping birds as a soundtrack. It’s one, big happy deception.

Let’s be clear: The PGA Tour is not partnering with LIV Golf. It’s partnering with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which bankrolls LIV. The agreement between the two golf circuits, along with the DP World Tour, creates a new commercial entity. The chairman of the board of that new commercial entity? Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the Saudis’ Public Investment Fund. I’m eagerly awaiting PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan’s attempt to spin that into a victory for the nobility of the game.

The Saudi monarchy has been trying to clean up its murderous image for years. One way of wiping away the blood is through sportswashing. Invest in something as genteel as golf and maybe the country’s horrible human rights abuses won’t get noticed as much. That’s Saudi Arabia’s game plan, and it’s working. Al-Rumayyan doesn’t just have a foot in the door. He’s running the meeting.

Monahan has betrayed the players who stayed with the PGA Tour when LIV Golf came bearing dump trucks of money. Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods did their best Winston Churchill impressions during the Tour’s darkest hour, then watched Monahan sell out. Imagine being McIlroy, the most vocal defender of the Tour and its history the past few years. Imagine waking up one morning and getting a call that the sworn enemy was now a friend. Imagine the feeling of being all alone with your official Tour megaphone and pom-poms.

The moral of the story is that the PGA Tour doesn’t have any morals. It will get into bed with anybody to survive. Those of you who thought there were limits to greed were naive.

Some of the players who defected to LIV Golf are gloating, which is no surprise. Money is how they keep score, and their scorecard tells them they won big. LIV paid them handsomely while they put up with the criticism that comes with making a deal with the devil. The PGA/LIV merger sportswashes them, too. They’ll find their way back into the swing of the Tour and back into fans’ hearts, if they ever were banished.

There’s nothing inherently immoral about money. We all need it to survive. But how much do we need? For Phil Mickelson, there’s never enough. His insatiable appetite for more was pitted against the Tour’s fantasy of golf as the gentleman’s game. He lost in the court of public opinion for a few years. McIlroy might not be thanking him today, but other players who watched the Tour’s tournament purses increase in reaction to LIV’s bigger budget probably have been tipping a cap to old Lefty for his capitalist heroics.

Golf has always been the rich man’s game. It attracts people who are wealthy and people who want to be wealthy. Their language is money. You might start speaking it, too, if you were around it long enough, the way the pros are. Playing golf is the biggest thing in Tour players’ lives, but it’s so intertwined with making money that it’s impossible to separate the two.

Yet LIV Golf was so over the top with its gluttony that many players couldn’t swallow it.

Monahan acknowledged he could be viewed as a hypocrite for initially questioning where LIV’s money came from and then, eventually, agreeing to a merger with LIV and its deep pockets.

A hypocrite? Jay? Never! Here’s what he had to say last year when asked about the Saudi monarchy’s alleged ties to the 9/11 attacks:

“I think you’d have to be living under a rock not to know there are significant implications. I would ask any player who has left or any player who would consider leaving, ‘Have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?’ ”

At least it’s all out in the open now: Money means never having to apologize for anything.

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