The news of LIV Golf and the PGA Tour’s newfound partnership stunned the sports world earlier this week. Although there was a lot of controversy and legal battles, the PGA Tour made a shocking reversal from its previously longstanding position as an opponent. Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has received significant brushback and scrutiny after how he and the Tour played all this. As it turns out, Monahan had spun the wheels behind the scenes, according to an explosive report by the Wall Street Journal.
The WSJ reported on Saturday morning that Monahan, in private conversations, stressed that it became too pricey to deal with the constant legal battles against LIV Golf.
In private remarks to PGA Tour employees, commissioner Jay Monahan indicated why it stunningly reversed its position and struck a deal with its Saudi-backed rivals: the fight would run the Tour dry financially. https://t.co/5LM3DzmVi9
— WSJ Sports (@WSJSports) June 10, 2023
Monahan emphasized that they “couldn’t compete” with a foreign government steeped with almost unlimited funds from their sovereign wealth fund. According to the WSJ, Monahan is to have claimed the Tour spent $50 million in legal fees and had dug deep into their reserve funds, with $100 million used to pay purses around the Tour, among other things.
According to an ESPN report on the matter, “The PGA Tour spokesperson told ESPN that the league had probably spent ‘tens of millions of dollars’ on lawyers while fighting LIV Golf’s federal antitrust lawsuit and defending itself in an antitrust investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.”
The expenses evidently became too much for the PGA Tour to withstand. But it’s hard to say whether or not that will alleviate the PR damage the PGA Tour took this week after the LIV Golf partnership was announced.