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Tom Watson Questions 'Hypocrisy' of Merger

Tom Watson Questions 'Hypocrisy' of Merger
PGA golf great Tom Watson (David Davies/AP/2015 file photo)

Monday, 19 June 2023 01:43 PM EDT

The PGA Tour's announced merger with LIV Golf and the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) captured the endorsement of perhaps the game's greatest ambassador, but Tom Watson needs more convincing.

Watson, winner of eight majors among his 39 career wins, penned an open letter to the PGA Tour, including commissioner Jay Monahan, and his "fellow players" on Monday, questioning the merger while twice hitting at the "hypocrisy" of it.

While Jack Nicklaus gave a nod of approval to the merger, calling it "good for the game of golf," Watson has more than 1,000 words of questions.

Watson gave a nod to Monahan, first wishing him a "complete and speedy recovery" from undisclosed medical issues that sidelined the commish last week.

"With the recent high hurdles in dealing with LIV poaching Tour players and the legal battles presented as a result, I have a sense of the complexity of the issues which he presently faces as a leader," Watson wrote. "Unfortunately, in the wake of recent news, I also understand the cries of hypocrisy. Because he is a smart man, I know Jay does too.

"Clearly, the Tour's traditional business model was threatened by LIV. The upstart tour created unprecedented obstacles and battles of both moral and financial consequence."

The PGA Tour's Player Advisory Council is set to meet Tuesday ahead of the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn., albeit without a mending Monahan. Watson wrote he's hoping "unanswered questions" get addressed at that meeting.

"What does acceptance of this partnership mean to the Tour? What do we get? What do we give up? Why was this deal done in such secrecy and why wasn't even one of the players who sits on the Tour's Policy Board included?" Watson wrote. "A matter this profound deserves thorough vetting by a representative group of stakeholders which include those, who in the end, define the public image and emotional connection with the PGA Tour."

"These questions are compounded by the hypocrisy in disregarding the moral issue; a position which for a long time was publicly highlighted by Tour leadership," Watson continued. .".. It has also been illustrated that not all of our players are in search of money at all costs.

"Those who stayed true to the Tour for whatever personal reason or position of moral conscience are more than a few outliers. There are widespread rumors on the Tour offering financial reparations to these players who rejected offers from LIV and remained loyal to our Tour. ... And in a related question, what if any, are the plans to reinstate Tour players who defected and now want to return to the PGA Tour?"

Watson then referenced the Tour's "more desperate financial situation than has been previously revealed."

"It is important to understand how all of this has impacted the Tour's Reserve Fund and the Tour's overall financial solvency," he wrote.

"Is the PIF the only viable rescue from the Tour's financial problems? Was/is there a plan B? And again, what exactly is the exchange? We need clarity and deserve full disclosure as to the financial health of the PGA Tour and the details of this proposed partnership."

© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


StreetTalk
The PGA Tour's announced merger with LIV Golf and the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) captured the endorsement of perhaps the game's greatest ambassador, but Tom Watson needs more convincing.
pga, liv, tom watson
523
2023-43-19
Monday, 19 June 2023 01:43 PM
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