It was always all about the money.
The PGA Tour’s battle against LIV Golf ultimately became too much of a financial burden to continue, according to The Wall Street Journal, and was the main reason the Tour stunningly reversed course and merged with the Saudi-backed rival this week.
Just two days after merger, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan — who is set to serve as the CEO of the yet-to-be-named new company — spoke with the Tour’s employees and explained the rationale behind the decision.
The PGA Tour was outmatched, Monahan reportedly said in the Thursday meeting.
“We cannot compete with a foreign government with unlimited money,” Monahan said the Wall Street Journal reported. “This was the time….We waited to be in the strongest possible position to get this deal in place.”
The PGA Tour was embroiled in a legal battle against LIV Golf and had already spent nearly $50 million in the process.
ESPN reported that the PGA Tour had spent “tens of millions of dollars” in legal fees in its fights with LIV.
On top of that, the PGA Tour had reportedly dipped into $100 million of its reserves to fund its upcoming schedule and events.
Conversely, the Saudi Public Investment Fund — which owned and bankrolled LIV — is considered one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds with over $600 billion in assets.
Yasir Al-Rumayyan serves as the director of the PIF, and is set to become the chairman of the board of the new company.
Above Al-Rumayyan, the PIF is headed by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and de-facto ruler Mohammad bin Salman, who was accused of ordering the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
On Friday, Rory McElroy had positive things to say about the head of the PIF.
“He’s a very impressive man,” the star golfer said of Al-Rumayyan to reporters. “Harvard Business School, runs 700 or 800 billions worth of dollars, and invested in a ton of different companies. He’s a very smart, impressive man.”
Monahan was reportedly asked in the meeting how he would explain the merger to his daughters, given Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women and overall human rights history.
After mentioning his daughters by name, Monahan paused before continuing, per the Wall Street Journal.
He then explained that “the circumstances we were in” forced them to “think about all of our players. I have to think about everybody in this room. I understand all the human rights concerns. I’ve had them myself.”
Monahan and the PGA Tour have faced external criticism for the merger, including from victims of 9/11 families.
Those families told The Post that they felt “completely betrayed” by Monahan after the merger was announced.
“I am absolutely appalled, and they should be ashamed,” Terry Strada, the national chair of 9/11 Families United, told The Post.
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