Just before the weekend, PGA Tour Commissioner, Jay Monahan suspended the 17 golfers who left the tour to join the LIV Golf Invitational Series. On Sunday, Monahan spoke out in defense of his decision.
“It’s my job to protect, defend and celebrate our loyal PGA Tour members, our partners and our fans. And that’s exactly what I did. And I don’t think it was a surprise to anybody, given how clear I had been about how we were going to handle this situation.” Monahan said.
The latest decision came when top golfers like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and others left the PGA Tour to join LIV Golf in their inaugural event in London this past week.
Monahan’s decision had been warned for months, but continues to highlight the controversy surrounding LIV Golf.
LIV Golf is funded by the Saudi-Arabian government which is currently being accused of human rights abuses across the globe. While lucrative paydays have been given to some of the best stars to join the Saudi-backed league, others around the sport see it as a money grab.
Even with the lucrative contracts being given to the former PGA golfers, Monahan feels that the Tour offers something LIV Golf can’t.
“The best players in the world are here at the RBC Canadian Open, with millions of fans watching, and in this game, it’s true and pure competition that creates the profile in the presence of the world’s greatest players…that’s why they need us.”
LIV Golf’s next event is in Portland Oregon at the end of June and has already added a couple more PGA members to their event with Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez to its roster.
PGA Tour Golfers back Monahan
Monahan was not the only person to speak out against LIV Golf this past weekend.
After winning the Canadian Open, Rory McIlroy spoke about how his 21st PGA Tour victory was one more than LIV Golf CEO, Greg Norman.
“I had extra motivation of what’s going on across the pond. The guy that’s spearheading that tour has 20 wins on the PGA Tour and I was tied with him, and I wanted to get one ahead of him. And I did. So that was really cool for me, just a little sense of pride on that one.” McIlroy said after the win.
Justin Thomas was also outspoken about the golfers who defected to LIV Golf in a tweet saying “What a week. That’s why we play, and that’s why we play on the @PGATOUR. Got to battle against one of the best today and got out dueled, but not without a fight. Congrats to @McIlroyRory on his 21st win and an amazing finish. Can’t wait for @usopengolf!”
Thomas and McIlroy are just two golfers who have been outspoken against their former competitors. They are not the only ones who have denied LIV Golf though.
Tiger Woods reportedly declined an offer from LIV Golf, and actually rebuked Mickelson, and others saying “you have to go out there and earn it. You’ve got to go out there and play for it. We have the opportunity to go ahead and do it. It’s just not guaranteed up front.”
While Monahan, and others on the Tour, continue to stand up against other golfers defection to LIV Golf, their statement and response to players leaving for a controversially backed league is simple.
“Have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?”