News of the PGA Tour-LIV Golf merger came out of nowhere on Tuesday and shocked the golf world. The renegade Saudi-backed tour started poaching PGA Tour golfers just over a year ago, paying stars like Phil Mickelson massive multimillion-dollar bonuses to jump ship to the startup. Now, the two tours, along with the European DP World Tour, are merging into one entity, changing the face of modern golf. Here are the biggest winners and losers from this blockbuster deal.

Winner: Phil Mickelson and the other LIV golfers who got paid

Phil Mickelson was the poster boy for LIV Golf. He was the first high-profile name to jump to the new tour and got a reported $200 million for making the move.

Other top players also got paid. Reports are that Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau received over $100 million each, while 2023 PGA Championship winner Brooke Koepka, Cam Smith, and Joaquin Niemann all got around $100 million apiece.

The PGA Tour suspended the LIV Golf players who made the move to the new tour, and several (including Mickelson and DeChambeau) sued the PGA because of that.

It now seems that suit — as well as a PGA countersuit — was a driving force behind the sides coming together and agreeing on this PGA Tour-LIV Golf merger.

While all the details are still slightly unclear, it seems as though all these players will come back to the now-larger Tour and be able to compete as they had in the past. The only real difference is that the superstars who jumped ship are now nine figures richer.

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Loser: Rory McIlroy and the PGA Tour defenders

On the flip side of this coin is Rory McIlroy and the rest of the PGA Tour stars who not only stayed loyal to their organization but also attacked LIV Golf on multiple occasions.

This not only applies to the players, either but also to media members who went after LIV Golf and the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) behind the tour.

For example, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee has been incredibly outspoken in his criticism of LIV golfers for getting into business with the Saudi government. After news of the PGA Tour-LIV Golf merger broke, Koepka took to Twitter to troll Chamblee, writing, “Welfare Check on Chamblee.”

This merger blindsided these players and loyal supporters, and now they have to accept the involvement of the PIF in the PGA Tour and didn’t get the payout the people who moved over did.

Winner: The winners of future tournaments

For better or worse, the PIF is now a major corporate sponsor of the new Tour and will bring an influx of capital to the events.

LIV Golf held seven events in 2023, and the winners of each event made between $4.125 million and $4.75 million. The biggest purse for a non-major on the PGA Tour this season was $3.5 million.

The purses for the newly merged tours will go up in the future, and that will mean more money for the winners, top finishers, and likely even the bottom of the field moving forward.

Loser: Jay Monahan

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is one of the biggest losers in all this. No one fought harder and threw more grenades at LIV Golf than Monahan, and now he agreed to a PGA Tour-LIV Golf merger seemingly without any input from the PGA Tour members.

No one looks like a bigger hypocrite today than Monahan.

The commissioner went on TV with Jim Nantz a year ago and shamed LIV golfers about getting in bed with a government that was involved at some level in the 9/11 attacks. He asked, “Have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?”

Well, now that the PIF is a premier sponsor of the Tour, he and others may now have to start apologizing as well.

Winner: Golf fans

Looking at this from a pure sports perspective, golf fans walk away from this deal as winners. The sport once again will field a full contingent of stars in one place, and fans will get to see all their favorites in the same tournaments.

Also, LIV Golf did do some innovative things in their broadcasts and introduced things like per-tournament drafts and team golf.

How many of the innovations survive the move from LIV Golf to the PGA Tour remains to be seen, but at least some of the features should come over to help make the game and the broadcast more modern and compelling for fans. And for a sport that has changed little in decades, that's a good thing.