Members of the PGA Tour had no idea that the tour would be merging with LIV Golf. Hours after the announcement was made and players learned of the news on social media, they had a heated meeting with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.
PGA Tour players are understandably upset with Monahan. Not only had Monahan long criticized those who left the PGA Tour for big-money contracts with LIV Golf, but he didn’t even let the tour’s biggest stars know about the upcoming partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
One PGA tour player called Jay Monahan a “hypocrite,” according to Australian golfer Geoff Ogilvy. Monahan met with players for over an hour at the Oakdale Golf and Country Club in Toronto, where the RBC Canadian Open will be held.
“I recognize everything that I’ve said in the past and my prior positions. I recognize that people are going to call me a hypocrite,” Monahan told reporters Tuesday, via ESPN. “Anytime I said anything, I said it with the information that I had at that moment, and I said it based on someone that’s trying to compete for the PGA Tour and our players. I accept those criticisms, but circumstances do change. I think that in looking at the big picture and looking at it this way, that’s what got us to this point.”
Monahan’s explanation likely rings hollow for many PGA Tour loyalists. The commissioner publicly shamed players for going to LIV Golf because of the Saudi Arabian’s connections to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“When you get into these conversations, and given the complexity of what we were dealing with, it’s not uncommon that the circle of information is very tight,” Monahan said. “In our case, we kept that information very tight. … The fact of the matter is that this was a shock to a lot of people because we were not in a position to share or explain, as we normally would, and that was really a result of the commitment we had made to maintaining confidentiality through the end.”
Monahan told reporters that the PGA Tour was in talks with the PIF about a merger with LIV Golf for seven weeks.