Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy respond to shock LIV and PGA merger - what does it mean for golf?
The PGA Tour has merged with rival LIV Golf after a year of conflict between the two organisations
The PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf have agreed a deal to merge together in a move which causes a major shake up to the sport of golf.
Golf icon Phil Mickelson, who has been an outspoken supporter of LIV Golf, has praised the announcement and claims it is an “awesome day” for the sport.
The merger comes after a year of conflict in the men’s professional game after the launch of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf-circuit. The new entity has not yet been named but the deal signals a new cooperation to unify the game of golf, on a global basis.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which funded LIV Golf’s emergence, will make a capital investment into the combined entity as part of the agreement.
A statement said: “The parties have signed an agreement that combines PIF’s golf-related commercial businesses and rights (including LIV Golf) with the commercial businesses and rights of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour into a new collectively owned, for profit entity to ensure that all stakeholders benefit from a model that delivers maximum excitement and competition among the game’s best players.”
The statement added: “In addition, PIF will make a capital investment into the new entity to facilitate its growth and success. The new entity will implement a plan to grow these commercial businesses, drive greater fan engagement and accelerate growth initiatives already underway. With LIV Golf in the midst of its second groundbreaking season, the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and PIF will work together to feature and grow golf going forward.”
The announcement also puts an end to all pending litigation between the participating parties.
How have people reacted to the agreement?
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monaghan has praised the agreement and described it as a “historic day for the game we all know and love.”
PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who also serves as chairman of Newcastle United, echoed these claims. He explained that the move will “engender a new era in global golf, for the better.”
Others have questioned the way that the agreement was handled and the lack of communication to the players.
Sports journalist Dan Rapaport tweeted: “PGA Tour didn’t communicate this to players at all. They found out same time we did. Shocked and confused. Disgusted. They didn’t tell us anything.”
How have professional golf players reacted to the news?
A number of professional golf’s biggest stars have expressed their disappointment at the merger with LIV Golf. Many players had not been consulted about the surprise agreement and they were informed at the time as the media on Tuesday 6 June.
Rory McIlroy is one of the high profile names who has dismissed any sense of imminent peace in golf. He claims that he still “hates” LIV but is coming to terms with golf’s reality. He said: “It’s hard for me not to sit up here and feel somewhat like a sacrificial lamb and feeling like I’ve put myself out there and this is what happens.
“Removing myself from the situation, I can see how this is better for the game of golf, there's no denying that.”
The golf star has also called for consequences for those that swiftly deflected to the LIV tour. He added: “There still has to be consequences to actions. The people that left the PGA Tour irreplaceable harmed this tour. Started litigation against it. We can’t just welcome them back in. That’s not going to happen.”