PGA, LIV tours to merge

ngruz25

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I don't think we have any way of knowing what happens so those massive headline-making LIV signing bonuses, but my guess is that those guys won't be seeing the big figures they were promised. All the reporting indicated that those payments were not up paid in full up front and were structured in some way. There was some agency sketchiness and I wouldn't be surprised if the contracts contained language cutting off or prorating the bonuses if the league shut down. Which I believe is bound to happen.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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I have no doubt there is fraught money throughout sports, but to be so overt about it seems icky (to use a formal term). A good day for the product of professional golf, but a terrible day for humanity is how I'd put it.

Oddly enough, the PIF comes off as the "good cop" in this playing off the "bad cop" of LIV. 'You've had enough of Norman and the litigation coming from the LIV tour and its players? If you let us buy into the PGA as a minority partner we can make that all go away.'
 

Zomp

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I have no doubt there is fraught money throughout sports, but to be so overt about it seems icky (to use a formal term). A good day for the product of professional golf, but a terrible day for humanity is how I'd put it.

Oddly enough, the PIF comes off as the "good cop" in this playing off the "bad cop" of LIV. 'You've had enough of Norman and the litigation coming from the LIV tour and its players? If you let us buy into the PGA as a minority partner we can make that all go away.'
I think you nail it
 

cshea

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Figuring out how to integrate LIV players back onto the PGA Tour is going to be a massive undertaking. Whatever they come up with needs to be approved by the current PGA Tour players, if I'm understanding the letter correctly.

First there's these players getting their cards back. Some resigned, others are suspended. What's the process for these players to get reinstated or earn/buy their cards back? It's easy enough to hand one to someone like Brooks who just won a major or DJ and Phil who had previously earned lifetime status (and of course Phil being the guy who spearheaded LIV players a role) but then what do you do with middle class players like Ancer and Good and also the lower tier players? Then, once they have their cards where do they re-integrate? With the new short field designated structure event, I'm sure the current Tour players won't be happy if 20 LIV guys are suddently eligible.
 

TFP

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Figuring out how to integrate LIV players back onto the PGA Tour is going to be a massive undertaking. Whatever they come up with needs to be approved by the current PGA Tour players, if I'm understanding the letter correctly.

First there's these players getting their cards back. Some resigned, others are suspended. What's the process for these players to get reinstated or earn/buy their cards back? It's easy enough to hand one to someone like Brooks who just won a major or DJ and Phil who had previously earned lifetime status (and of course Phil being the guy who spearheaded LIV players a role) but then what do you do with middle class players like Ancer and Good and also the lower tier players? Then, once they have their cards where do they re-integrate? With the new short field designated structure event, I'm sure the current Tour players won't be happy if 20 LIV guys are suddently eligible.
That assumes the LIV players even want their cards back and don't just want to keep playing the LIV events.
 

cshea

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That assumes the LIV players even want their cards back and don't just want to keep playing the LIV events.
That's fair. I guess we need to see the schedule and how it's all going to work with LIv and the Tour before crossing that bridge.
 

Senator Donut

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Jay Monahan had a nice speech a year ago about honoring the families of 9/11. So much for that.
Jimmy Dunne was announced as a board member for the new LLC entity. As someone familiar with his connection to 9/11, his presence on the new board is the most stunning aspect of this merger.
 

E5 Yaz

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The more I watch the continuing Golf Channel coverage, the more it seems clear just how out of the blue this came ... and just how few details about how this is going to be structured have been determined. Going to be fascinating to watch this unfold over the next few months
 

cshea

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I think TFP is probably right and the players will be fine in the end. I think they are mostly chaffed at being left in the dark. I think once they hear the money and additional details such as a path back and what a schedule looks like, I think they'll probablly fall in line.

I would like to hear from Rory as he was put in front of the media week after week to passionately defend the Tour and take the bullets for Monahan...and now this. He even had to take a mental health break from golf after dealing with this for well over a year.
 

Comfortably Lomb

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View: https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1666110218365698048

From @TheAthleticFC: Yasir Al-Rumayyan will be chairman of the new golf organization following PGA and LIV's agreement to merge. This is the story of golf's most powerful man — and his ties with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. https://nyti.ms/3OSGkOJ
Also the chair of Saudi Aramco (THE Saudi oil company). I guess they're doing this in the grossest way possible. The money must be mind blowing.
 

Patriot_Reign

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Jay Monahan is shady af. Lets the tour players be the face of criticism against LIV then negotiates a secret back room deal to merge without seeking any input from the players.
 

canderson

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Unless there are major details we haven't learned ... the PGA has validated Saudi and rewarded them - about the worst possible outcome imaginable from this entire thing. How embarrassing, upsetting and even bewildering they'll openly dive into a pool full of money arm in arm with Saudi.
 

sodenj5

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Some player comments starting to trickle. Here's Theegala:

What recourse do the players have other than filing lawsuits for getting absolutely porked by the PGA? The Saudis can wave their hands and pay the players whatever they want to make that go away.
 

moretsyndrome

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I'm sorry, McIlroy has to be fucking seething. After the way he put himself out there above and beyond everyone else against this whole blood-money debacle, he's going to want more than what's contained in that letter, and he deserves it.

He won't get anything of course. Deserve's got nothing to do with it.
 

luckiestman

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To all those PGA guys that had principled positions, in the words of poet laureate DMX: Talk is cheap, motherfucker.

And for all the fans we’ll go with the iconoclast Roger Waters: Now, we’ll find out where you fans truly stand.
 

cshea

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What recourse do the players have other than filing lawsuits for getting absolutely porked by the PGA? The Saudis can wave their hands and pay the players whatever they want to make that go away.
I disagree they are getting porked by Monahan. I'm sure the financial benefit the players gain from this is going to be substantial.

Some will have moral objections, the majority are miffed about being kept in the dark, but I think when they see the money/structure they will probably be OK.
 

DontTauntOrtizMe

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I disagree they are getting porked by Monahan. I'm sure the financial benefit the players gain from this is going to be substantial.

Some will have moral objections, the majority are miffed about being kept in the dark, but I think when they see the money/structure they will probably be OK.
At the very least there needs to be guaranteed money - a lot - for those who were loyal. Upping the purses to ridiculous sums won't benefit middle to bottom tier players.
 

sodenj5

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I disagree they are getting porked by Monahan. I'm sure the financial benefit the players gain from this is going to be substantial.

Some will have moral objections, the majority are miffed about being kept in the dark, but I think when they see the money/structure they will probably be OK.
Some guys turned down tens and maybe even hundreds of millions of dollars (Rory) to stay with the tour.

No fluffing of event prize pools is ever going to make that sum up unless LIV guys are forfeiting the money they signed on for, which seems highly unlikely.
 

snowmanny

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Once they see the new purses I'm guessing they won't care.
Those purses are going to have to be pretty fucking high to make a player ranked ~30th feel good about having given up $35 million or more out of loyalty that wasn’t particularly reciprocated.

So I wonder how this will all actually work.
 

cshea

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Some guys turned down tens and maybe even hundreds of millions of dollars (Rory) to stay with the tour.

No fluffing of event prize pools is ever going to make that sum up unless LIV guys are forfeiting the money they signed on for, which seems highly unlikely.
That's certainly something they're going to have to figure out. Now that they are a for-profit organization they may be able to pay them out in some fashion beyond dumping money into tournament purses.
 

Murderer's Crow

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Players can be as mad as they want but they have no real power. There's no other place for them to golf and they'll make more money than ever.

It really is shocking how this played out. I hope Full Swing has like 4 more seasons.
 

Patriot_Reign

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At the very least there needs to be guaranteed money - a lot - for those who were loyal.
How does that even work?
"Rory you're a top 10 player and didn't leave here's a check for 20 million. Guy who's ranked 33rd on the tour you didn't leave here's a check for $100k. Thanks everyone!" ?
 

sodenj5

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How does that even work?
"Rory you're a top 10 player and didn't leave here's a check for 20 million. Guy who's ranked 33rd on the tour you didn't leave here's a check for $100k. Thanks everyone!" ?
Right. Is Rory going to produce texts that show he turned down 300 million and they just write him a check?

Guys that didn’t jump are getting absolutely screwed for their loyalty, and guys that did jump are having their cake and eating it too.
 

IdiotKicker

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I have so many different thoughts about this that aren’t necessarily coherent or unified:
  • I think this is a horribly unsuccessful sports-washing. Yes, the Saudis end up getting a stake in the PGA, but fuck, all people have been talking about with LIV is how shitty the Saudi regime is. It was more like the Streisand effect to me, and the PIF doesn’t need sports to generate good investments, given their ties to SoftBank and the Vision Fund and the companies under that umbrella (Uber, DoorDash, Nvidia, Slack, Fanatics, etc).
  • If the PGA wanted a large check, there are tons of billionaires out there who want to be associated with owning sports-related anything (see: every team owner). You’re telling me that Lebron James wants to own a pickleball team but you couldn’t have him heading up a 20% minority ownership stake in the PGA with Tom Brady? Shit, give Brian Davis a piece on his way to prison so Bank of America can be a partner too. If you need funding, you could get it elsewhere.
  • Likewise, I don’t like how this feels because I like to think that I care about these things, but how many PIF-funded companies do I or many of us use on a daily basis without know they’re PIF-funded? Like, if you invest in the S&P 500, your success is the PIF’s success. Sort’ve, because the Vision Fund is also a cluster, but that’s a different issue. The point is that as much as I may hate this, it’s not like I’ve taken any drastic actions to avoid all PIF-funded companies in the past. I don’t know that my behavior necessarily changes here as well.
  • The players who stayed should be pissed. You told us that there was no amnesty and that loyalty mattered over money, but that was just for us? Fuck off.
Basically this ends up with the conclusion that everyone wins financially and everyone looks horrible doing it. It’s like we compressed the last 40 years of global corporatism into a nice two-season arc centered around…golf? And it all comes back to PGA management, which I didn’t really think was a thing, given how involved the players are in running the thing, but for some reason, they took the bag from the Saudis without checking to see if there was another bag somewhere else. Because the fact that no one knew about this means they didn’t shop the offer or couldn’t shop the offer.

I dunno, this blows. But I watch the World Cup, I watch the Olympics, I watch the NCAA - I don’t exactly have a stellar track record of doing shit when sports organizations are awful to their members or do awful things in the name of sportswashing. I think the best I can do with stuff like this is try to exist in this world without becoming part of this world. I’m cool with things being about the money, I just don’t want it to be their money. Shit.
 

Vegas Sox Fan

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I’m really curious about the contracts the LIV guys signed. We know they didn’t get the money up front and the guarantees are pulled from event winnings so PIFs investment is really just in the commitments. Those commitments seem like a tough pill to swallow for PGA. What if PIF saw this coming and was the end goal all along. I could see a scenario where they built in change of control language that largely invalidates the guarantees. It would make sense on why PIF was willing to give such big guarantees and why savvy people like Tiger turned them down and why PGA was willing to take them on.
 

cshea

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FWIW, Rory in September:

https://www.si.com/golf/news/golf-is-ripping-itself-apart-rory-mcilroy-calls-for-talks-between-liv-golf-and-pga-tour

“I don't want a fractured game, McIlroy said. "The game of golf is ripping itself apart and that's no good for anyone. It's not good for the guys on the traditional system or the guys on the other side either.
"Right now, with where everything is, it's probably not the right time but we probably can't leave it too much longer. I'm all for getting around the table and sorting things out.’’
Monahan did exactly what Rory (and others) were calling for. There are probably some financial things to iron out but the path back from LIV to the Tour will be key for most of the players.
 

joe dokes

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I’m really curious about the contracts the LIV guys signed. We know they didn’t get the money up front and the guarantees are pulled from event winnings so PIFs investment is really just in the commitments. Those commitments seem like a tough pill to swallow for PGA. What if PIF saw this coming and was the end goal all along. I could see a scenario where they built in change of control language that largely invalidates the guarantees. It would make sense on why PIF was willing to give such big guarantees and why savvy people like Tiger turned them down and why PGA was willing to take them on.
I think that has to be part of this. There's probably an NFL-sized out-hole in those contracts that "going out of business" fits right into. And probably a "and you also agree *never* to sue us for anything ever" clause or a choice-of law provision that directs to Saudi law. Or at least I hope so.
 

sodenj5

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I think that has to be part of this. There's probably an NFL-sized out-hole in those contracts that "going out of business" fits right into. And probably a "and you also agree *never* to sue us for anything ever" clause or a choice-of law provision that directs to Saudi law. Or at least I hope so.
I’m of the opposite mind.

I don’t think that guys like Phil and Brooks would have staked their careers on contracts that weren’t absolutely iron-clad bulletproof so if all else failed, they were getting paid no matter what. There was a chance that they could have been completely blacklisted from PGA events for life.

That money is an easy write off as the acquisition cost of getting your foot in the door to buying an ownership stake in the PGA.
 

Van Everyman

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I have so many different thoughts about this that aren’t necessarily coherent or unified:
  • I think this is a horribly unsuccessful sports-washing. Yes, the Saudis end up getting a stake in the PGA, but fuck, all people have been talking about with LIV is how shitty the Saudi regime is. It was more like the Streisand effect to me, and the PIF doesn’t need sports to generate good investments, given their ties to SoftBank and the Vision Fund and the companies under that umbrella (Uber, DoorDash, Nvidia, Slack, Fanatics, etc).
  • If the PGA wanted a large check, there are tons of billionaires out there who want to be associated with owning sports-related anything (see: every team owner). You’re telling me that Lebron James wants to own a pickleball team but you couldn’t have him heading up a 20% minority ownership stake in the PGA with Tom Brady? Shit, give Brian Davis a piece on his way to prison so Bank of America can be a partner too. If you need funding, you could get it elsewhere.
  • Likewise, I don’t like how this feels because I like to think that I care about these things, but how many PIF-funded companies do I or many of us use on a daily basis without know they’re PIF-funded? Like, if you invest in the S&P 500, your success is the PIF’s success. Sort’ve, because the Vision Fund is also a cluster, but that’s a different issue. The point is that as much as I may hate this, it’s not like I’ve taken any drastic actions to avoid all PIF-funded companies in the past. I don’t know that my behavior necessarily changes here as well.
  • The players who stayed should be pissed. You told us that there was no amnesty and that loyalty mattered over money, but that was just for us? Fuck off.
Basically this ends up with the conclusion that everyone wins financially and everyone looks horrible doing it. It’s like we compressed the last 40 years of global corporatism into a nice two-season arc centered around…golf? And it all comes back to PGA management, which I didn’t really think was a thing, given how involved the players are in running the thing, but for some reason, they took the bag from the Saudis without checking to see if there was another bag somewhere else. Because the fact that no one knew about this means they didn’t shop the offer or couldn’t shop the offer.

I dunno, this blows. But I watch the World Cup, I watch the Olympics, I watch the NCAA - I don’t exactly have a stellar track record of doing shit when sports organizations are awful to their members or do awful things in the name of sportswashing. I think the best I can do with stuff like this is try to exist in this world without becoming part of this world. I’m cool with things being about the money, I just don’t want it to be their money. Shit.
You’re no idiot, @IdiotKicker. Great post and I agree with it all.
 

joe dokes

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I’m of the opposite mind.

I don’t think that guys like Phil and Brooks would have staked their careers on contracts that weren’t absolutely iron-clad bulletproof so if all else failed, they were getting paid no matter what. There was a chance that they could have been completely blacklisted from PGA events for life.

That money is an easy write off as the acquisition cost of getting your foot in the door to buying an ownership stake in the PGA.
You might be right. I guess my starting position in all of this is that people who are that rich/successful in a narrow field like golf also think they're pretty smart beyond the golf course. Some are, I suppose. But I'm just a cynical prick who thinks that most aren't. In general, as much as I liked watching Phil play golf (I was kinda sorry to see him go), he seemed like an idiot who would be perfectly happy to "bet" on something like this. On the other, these guys all have lawyers and agents who *usually* keep them from going over a cliff. So I'm certainly far from certain. The public never really got a solid read on the LIV contracts before all this. Unlikely to happen now. (Further digging into my deep hole --- the LIV contracts probably have broad non-disparagement clauses, too.)
 

astrozombie

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I don't follow golf as a sport and even I find this story beyond fascinating. I still won't watch, but man, I feel like this is one of those stories where all the amoral people won big and everyone trying to do the right thing got screwed.
 

Van Everyman

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I don't follow golf as a sport and even I find this story beyond fascinating. I still won't watch, but man, I feel like this is one of those stories where all the amoral people won big and everyone trying to do the right thing got screwed.
Yes, but the amoral people would like you to believe there is no one trying to do the right thing.
 

Deathofthebambino

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I’m of the opposite mind.

I don’t think that guys like Phil and Brooks would have staked their careers on contracts that weren’t absolutely iron-clad bulletproof so if all else failed, they were getting paid no matter what. There was a chance that they could have been completely blacklisted from PGA events for life.

That money is an easy write off as the acquisition cost of getting your foot in the door to buying an ownership stake in the PGA.
You're assuming that money is already in Phil and Brooks' bank accounts.

If they signed a 5yr deal worth 200mil (for example), and we're in year 2, then they got 80mil. How do you think a lawsuit to collect the rest of their money plays out in a Saudi or even an American court, and if they win, and the Saudi's tell them "Hey come over here to Riyadh, you can pick it up where we paid Jamal Khashoggi his money," what do they do next?

That said, There are so many pieces to this puzzle it's hard to keep it all straight. Forget the top 10 players in the world, or even the top 50. What happens to the guy who finishes 120th this year on the Money list, and thus, should be guaranteed a card for next year? Do they now have to compete against the LIV guys in a battle to the death for who gets one?

What happens to the Korn Ferry guys who would get cards after this season? How many cards and players can the PGA Tour have for next season? The guy who finishes 25th on the KFT would have basically no priority and never get into an event.
 

Vegas Sox Fan

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You might be right. I guess my starting position in all of this is that people who are that rich/successful in a narrow field like golf also think they're pretty smart beyond the golf course. Some are, I suppose. But I'm just a cynical prick who thinks that most aren't. In general, as much as I liked watching Phil play golf (I was kinda sorry to see him go), he seemed like an idiot who would be perfectly happy to "bet" on something like this. On the other, these guys all have lawyers and agents who *usually* keep them from going over a cliff. So I'm certainly far from certain. The public never really got a solid read on the LIV contracts before all this. Unlikely to happen now. (Further digging into my deep hole --- the LIV contracts probably have broad non-disparagement clauses, too.)
You and I are clearly on the same page but to take it further I think as sports fans we are quick to think that these people that are superior athletes that make lots of money must be smart enough to make the right decisions off the respective sporting field but more often than not they make very flawed decisions. With the allure of all that “guaranteed” money I’m sure they were willing to overlook some contractual red flags, potentially even against the behest of their advisors.
 

Deathofthebambino

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Wasn't one of the lawsuits between PGA and LIV going to result into a very deep dive into the PGA as a charity organization?

That's the part I took from Monahan's letter, where he writes "PGA Tour Inc will remain as a 501(c)6 tax exempt organization...

Then later, he writes "this brings about an end to all pending litigation between the entities..."


IMO, Monahan saw that these lawsuits were going to result in a deep look under the hood at the PGA's finances and structure, and potentially create massive problems for them as a "charity" organization, so he sold out knowing its better than the alternative.