PGA, LIV tours to merge

cshea

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I'm sure some of the players want there to be consequences, but... what is the argument for them (other than spite)? 'How dare you have taken money from the Saudis to form a competing league that we've now merged with and are taking money from' is a... weird argument to make (and if half the reason for doing this merger is to settle lawsuits, I suspect that trying to throw huge penalties for the LIV golfers won't exactly accomplish that).
Playing opportunities is a huge deal. PGA Tour events are capped at anywhere form 100-150 players. There are more players with Tour cards than play spots in each tournament. LIV has a roster of like 70-80 players of varying skill and professional experience, from major winners to guys who never even had a Tour card to begin with. If they get dumped back into the professional golf structure, they will be displacing players who stayed loyal and earned their current spot wherever they may be. It's even more complicated with the designated event structure.
 

Patriot_Reign

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I actually think that if you came up with an apt parable that was relatable to ordinary people (i.e. scaling down the $ and localizing the moral/political issues), you would find that most of them have a sense of right and wrong and they would not do it.

One of the reasons these things are so dismaying is that these are already wealthy people to begin with. These aren't poor desperate people who had $100 million dangled in front of them.
Maybe. But someone making $100k and getting offered a bone for one million is not the same as making 10 mil and getting offered 100 million.
100 mil is F you money. One mil and you're still going to work tomorrow.
 

joe dokes

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Maybe. But someone making $100k and getting offered a bone for one million is not the same as making 10 mil and getting offered 100 million.
100 mil is F you money. One mil and you're still going to work tomorrow.
Weren't many of the LIV guys already into 8 figures in career earnings? They're just assholes.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I'm sure some of the players want there to be consequences, but... what is the argument for them (other than spite)? 'How dare you have taken money from the Saudis to form a competing league that we've now merged with and are taking money from' is a... weird argument to make (and if half the reason for doing this merger is to settle lawsuits, I suspect that trying to throw huge penalties for the LIV golfers won't exactly accomplish that).

Once you remove the 'Saudi $ is evil' part of the argument, you're basically left with a non-compete argument, so the PGA tour really wants to launch a battle over whether they can ban golfers from participating in other events, particularly when they're a monopoly that's trying to merge with their only competitor? Seems like a bad idea to me as a non-expert
What more does the PGA need? I suspect that the merger occurred to avoid one specific lawsuit, not lawsuits in general. Even if the only reason the PGA "settled" was to avoid excessive litigation fees, lawsuits from various golfers are not going to pose the same kind of problems as PIF-backed litigation.

The PGA will have to figure out how to reward the PGA players and penalize the LIV players otherwise Monahan won't be king of golf for much longer.
 

Strike4

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Maybe. But someone making $100k and getting offered a bone for one million is not the same as making 10 mil and getting offered 100 million.
100 mil is F you money. One mil and you're still going to work tomorrow.
For the vast majority of people in America, $1,000,000 is a life changing, generational wealth amount of money. You might be going to work tomorrow but you are no longer in danger of having an expensive medical issue destroying your life forever (for example). Talking about ten vs. a hundred million is just getting into the scale of possessions and wealth displays.
 

TFP

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I'm sure some of the players want there to be consequences, but... what is the argument for them (other than spite)? 'How dare you have taken money from the Saudis to form a competing league that we've now merged with and are taking money from' is a... weird argument to make (and if half the reason for doing this merger is to settle lawsuits, I suspect that trying to throw huge penalties for the LIV golfers won't exactly accomplish that).

Once you remove the 'Saudi $ is evil' part of the argument, you're basically left with a non-compete argument, so the PGA tour really wants to launch a battle over whether they can ban golfers from participating in other events, particularly when they're a monopoly that's trying to merge with their only competitor? Seems like a bad idea to me as a non-expert
I think it's less the "you took the money that we're now taking" and more "you started a rival league to take us out and then sued us and badmouthed our tour and tried to hurt our careers."

Tour pros have no problem with Brooks, HV3, DJ, etc who took the money and shut up and went about their business. It's the other morons and Greg Norman who they hold an understandable grudge against.
 

BaseballJones

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I wonder what will happen to the new PGA Tour guys who might honestly be in the tour because the better LIV guys left. Are they just going to get bumped? Or will the LIV guys have to earn their way back in the tour?
 

cshea

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I wonder what will happen to the new PGA Tour guys who might honestly be in the tour because the better LIV guys left. Are they just going to get bumped? Or will the LIV guys have to earn their way back in the tour?
This is kind of what I was getting at with the Tour players being displaced thing. It's a clusterfuck to sort out. There is likely 70-80 players on LIV and their going to have to put them somewhere. Figuring out how they get back and then where they fit in will be messy. Some element of existing Tour players are going to get stiffed at some point and they will be pissed.
 

Average Reds

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I wonder what will happen to the new PGA Tour guys who might honestly be in the tour because the better LIV guys left. Are they just going to get bumped? Or will the LIV guys have to earn their way back in the tour?
TFP has bingo here.

This is kind of what I was getting at with the Tour players being displaced thing. It's a clusterfuck to sort out. There is likely 70-80 players on LIV and their going to have to put them somewhere. Figuring out how they get back and then where they fit in will be messy. Some element of existing Tour players are going to get stiffed at some point and they will be pissed.
There are players who are already exempt due to winning majors. There are players who would otherwise be exempt but resigned their membership to join LIV. Then there are the rest. I don't know how they are going to resolve the re-integration issue, but any close calls about the process need to be decided in favor of those who didn't take the easy cash or the Tour will have a bunch of angry members on their hands.

Put it this way: if the Tour chooses to bump a young rookie in favor of Ian Poulter, who was quite open about going to LIV and taking the money because he knew his days of being competitive were largely over, that's just bad business.
 

TFP

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I honestly think they end up just being forced to follow the current eligibility rules (plus any spite penalty they decide to enforce). If they're already exempt due to major wins, OWGR ranking, etc they're in. If not? Get to qualifying for the events like everyone else. You left, earn your way back in by getting your tour card. I'm guessing a lot of the washed up guys will wait for the Champions Tour instead of re-qualifying.

This is all a total guess and is likely to be wrong.
 

joe dokes

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I honestly think they end up just being forced to follow the current eligibility rules (plus any spite penalty they decide to enforce). If they're already exempt due to major wins, OWGR ranking, etc they're in. If not? Get to qualifying for the events like everyone else. You left, earn your way back in by getting your tour card. I'm guessing a lot of the washed up guys will wait for the Champions Tour instead of re-qualifying.

This is all a total guess and is likely to be wrong.
At a minimum, "earn your way back as rules require" has to be the floor. That's not even a penalty. Its the same way anyone who didn't play for 2 years would be treated (medical exemptions, etc. aside).
 

Van Everyman

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Can someone summarize exactly what changed to make Monahan cut a secret deal with LIV? I get that it involves billions of LIV dollars -- but that doesn't seem new? I also understand there was ongoing litigation that could have bankrupted or drained PGA -- did something change there? And, is Monahan in position to be a huge financial winner as a result?

In all the pieces I've read on this expressing (justified) outrage, I just can't quite follow what exactly transpired here for such a dramatic shift.
 

TFP

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Can someone summarize exactly what changed to make Monahan cut a secret deal with LIV? I get that it involves billions of LIV dollars -- but that doesn't seem new? I also understand there was ongoing litigation that could have bankrupted or drained PGA -- did something change there? And, is Monahan in position to be a huge financial winner as a result?

In all the pieces I've read on this expressing (justified) outrage, I just can't quite follow what exactly transpired here for such a dramatic shift.
Both sides wanted to avoid the litigation. The Saudis absolutely did not want to be subject to discovery/depositions and the Tour realized it couldn't survive it financially over 5+ years or whatever it would take, plus I'm guessing they were happy to avoid discovery as well.

The Michael Scott Paper Company analogy really is so apt. And the Tour players are the Dunder Mifflin employees who stayed and lost their sales accounts.
 

Freddy Linn

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Jimmy Dunne can eat shit.

"But my guys − Chris Quackenbush, Herman Sandler, those guys − thinking about it and remembering it will not be enough for them. They would want me to do something about it," Dunne said. "And to the degree that we can reach out to people that are different than us (and) share experiences, we might be reducing the chances of some other thing happening, that’s equally horrific, down the road.


https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/golf/2023/06/08/jimmy-dunne-pga-tour-liv-golf-merger-participation/70301457007/
 

Murderer's Crow

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My wife and I were talking about how it's always the bad guys with money who are looking to wield their financial influence over stuff we experience but we are okay with that tradeoff if the good guys like the Gates' or Buffets are helping to solve world problems. I guess this is one of those things. You'd rather see the good money going to real problems.
 

cshea

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I knew Jimmy Dunne was a powerful man in the golf world but I had no idea about his background until this week. Lost 66 employees in 9/11. Wasn't in the office that day because he was playing golf. Now he's the man who brokered this deal with the Saudi's. Yikes.

Edit: Also, do influential/powerful people really connect with each other via What's App?
 

Van Everyman

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Both sides wanted to avoid the litigation. The Saudis absolutely did not want to be subject to discovery/depositions and the Tour realized it couldn't survive it financially over 5+ years or whatever it would take, plus I'm guessing they were happy to avoid discovery as well.

The Michael Scott Paper Company analogy really is so apt. And the Tour players are the Dunder Mifflin employees who stayed and lost their sales accounts.
I get that. Not that Monahan is remotely trustworthy but he keeps saying that the "facts changed" as he understood them. What changed?

Again, the money part, I'm assuming, has been there from the beginning -- that the Saudis were trying to invest in/buy the PGA long before LIV. Did the PGA just get played? I struggle to understand how some renegade competitor, no matter how well financed, can just threaten to litigate an established league out of existence -- unless said league is exposed due to some (ahem) royal fuck up (patently monopolistic behavior, etc.).

Also, people are talking about Monahan as if he's the Golf Goodell -- does he have some ginormous financial stake in PGA? Or is he just a salaried guy? What exactly does he get out of this he didn't already have before LIV?

Apologies if these answers are obvious to folks more closely following this. There's so much outrage, with virtually every question about why or how this happened answered with "The money, duh!" that I am struggling to grasp how this all came together in such a dramatic (and lousy) fashion.
 

cshea

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I think in addition to the legal fees, the prize money the Tour committed to paying out was not sustainable. Not sure if he could've landed investment elsewhere but he bagged the one with the deepest pockets.
 

TFP

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What changed?
Their motion to dismiss got denied, ensuring this was going to carry on for a long time. And then once Dunne reached out to Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the Tour learned how much the Saudis were willing to spend to drag the court case out. They probably realized they couldn't afford it along with everything else. Additionally I wouldn't be surprised if a couple sponsors said "thanks but no thanks" to increased sponsorship costs as well. Also I'm guessing the PIF being willing to settle was a material fact change as well. And maybe facts and communications came to light in discovery that would have been really damaging. Maybe it was all of the above.

Ultimately we'll never actually know since it's all going to be private and buried at this point.
 

cshea

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Pretty decent piece up on ESPN outlining everything we know about the deal up to this point, as well as what the future holds and the antitrust/DOJ hurdles the deal face as they try to complete it. Lot's of Jimmy Dunne.

https://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/37837794/inside-pga-tour-liv-golf-saudi-public-investment-fund-deal

Some new tidbits:

- PGA Tour players will receive some kind of equity in the new company, which appears to be the make-whole aspect. LIV players will not be eligible.
- Re-instatement will be done on a case by case basis. Some sort of committee will be formed to determine the process and then also review the players who apply for reinstatement and what their punishment might be.
 

Van Everyman

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Pretty decent piece up on ESPN outlining everything we know about the deal up to this point, as well as what the future holds and the antitrust/DOJ hurdles the deal face as they try to complete it. Lot's of Jimmy Dunne.

https://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/37837794/inside-pga-tour-liv-golf-saudi-public-investment-fund-deal

Some new tidbits:

- PGA Tour players will receive some kind of equity in the new company, which appears to be the make-whole aspect. LIV players will not be eligible.
- Re-instatement will be done on a case by case basis. Some sort of committee will be formed to determine the process and then also review the players who apply for reinstatement and what their punishment might be.
Also:
Former NFL quarterback Tom Brady considers Dunne one of his most important mentors.

"When you've been around people a long time, you see the 360," Brady told Sports Illustrated in 2021. "Jimmy is an amazing leader, a great dad, a great husband ... honest as the day is long. You don't do amazing things by taking three knees and punting, hoping someone else makes a decision for you."
 

FL4WL3SS

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Pretty decent piece up on ESPN outlining everything we know about the deal up to this point, as well as what the future holds and the antitrust/DOJ hurdles the deal face as they try to complete it. Lot's of Jimmy Dunne.

https://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/37837794/inside-pga-tour-liv-golf-saudi-public-investment-fund-deal

Some new tidbits:

- PGA Tour players will receive some kind of equity in the new company, which appears to be the make-whole aspect. LIV players will not be eligible.
- Re-instatement will be done on a case by case basis. Some sort of committee will be formed to determine the process and then also review the players who apply for reinstatement and what their punishment might be.
Wait, how do you merge with a league and then instantly make those players eligible for punishment? This is asinine
 

Zomp

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If you left your company abruptly, didn’t give notice, and went to the competitor making you ineligible for rehire...would your old company keep you if they bought out the competitor you went to?
 

jercra

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Wait, how do you merge with a league and then instantly make those players eligible for punishment? This is asinine
It was also not a merger with LIV. It's a very different thing. All assets get moved into a new entity that PIF will then buy a stake of. There is no public word on what will or will not happen to LIV as an entity post-close. There will be much consternation about what happens with current LIV players.
 

Comfortably Lomb

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It was also not a merger with LIV. It's a very different thing. All assets get moved into a new entity that PIF will then buy a stake of. There is no public word on what will or will not happen to LIV as an entity post-close. There will be much consternation about what happens with current LIV players.
Right, it's more like a settlement with the Saudis than a merger. I don't think the Saudis are going to care much about what happens to the LIV players. Why would they? They got what they wanted in the first place. And the LIV players got some fat checks last year anyway.
 

FL4WL3SS

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If you left your company abruptly, didn’t give notice, and went to the competitor making you ineligible for rehire...would your old company keep you if they bought out the competitor you went to?
They didn't work for a company, they are independent contractors. The PGA tour didn't even guarantee them salary and cost of living. This isn't remotely the same.
 

cshea

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They didn't work for a company, they are independent contractors. The PGA tour didn't even guarantee them salary and cost of living. This isn't remotely the same.
It's pretty convulted but here's essentially where my mind goes. I may be wrong.

The LIV players are independent contractors that have an agreement to play for LIV golf. If LIV golf gets shut down or dissolved they become free agents. The only other place to play men's professional golf at the highest level is the PGA Tour. The PGA Tour is a non-profit (this is apparently not changing) and they don't go around hiring these independent contractors. They have an established qualifying process for players to earn membership, then retain membership year after year. The LIV players had various levels of membership when they left. Since then some have resigned completely, others have just been suspended. The "punishment" is essentailly a way for some of these players to skip go and head straight back to the PGA Tour without going through Q school, the KFT, etc.
 

luckiestman

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It's pretty convulted but here's essentially where my mind goes. I may be wrong.

The LIV players are independent contractors that have an agreement to play for LIV golf. If LIV golf gets shut down or dissolved they become free agents. The only other place to play men's professional golf at the highest level is the PGA Tour. The PGA Tour is a non-profit (this is apparently not changing) and they don't go around hiring these independent contractors. They have an established qualifying process for players to earn membership, then retain membership year after year. The LIV players had various levels of membership when they left. Since then some have resigned completely, others have just been suspended. The "punishment" is essentailly a way for some of these players to skip go and head straight back to the PGA Tour without going through Q school, the KFT, etc.
This reads like “I don’t like that the LIV guys won so let me come up with a convoluted scenario to punish them”.
 

TheGazelle

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This reads like “I don’t like that the LIV guys won so let me come up with a convoluted scenario to punish them”.
I think the bottom line is that there's a lot of truth to this. Many of the guys who didn't leave the PGA are pissed and want the LIV guys to suffer some before they get to jump back on the tour full time. Making Bryson go fuck around on Korn Ferry or something would be hilarious. They should make Patrick Reed start over from scratch.
 

cshea

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This reads like “I don’t like that the LIV guys won so let me come up with a convoluted scenario to punish them”.
Leaving LIV aside, the point is that a player just can't just take a year or more off from the PGA Tour and then come pick up right where they left off whenever they feel like returning.

Like if Talor Gooch decided to quit golf for a year and travel the world, he can't then come back the following year to the PGA Tour at the same level he was when he left. He goes to the back of the line and has to earn his way back up through his performance.
 

jercra

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They didn't work for a company, they are independent contractors. The PGA tour didn't even guarantee them salary and cost of living. This isn't remotely the same.
I'm not going to get too deep into this, but they were independent contractors who knowingly and willingly broke the contract they signed. I'm reasonably certain that if Google hires a contractor that then tells Google that they are going to break that contract to go work for Apple, and Google tells them that if they do, they won't ever work at Google again, no one would think that's an unreasonable reaction.

As to the salary and cost of living aspect, there are many contracts get paid on deliverables, not on hours worked and have no guaranteed minimum payments.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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I'm not going to get too deep into this, but they were independent contractors who knowingly and willingly broke the contract they signed. I'm reasonably certain that if Google hires a contractor that then tells Google that they are going to break that contract to go work for Apple, and Google tells them that if they do, they won't ever work at Google again, no one would think that's an unreasonable reaction.
True, but if Google BUYS Apple and this contractor is working on a big Apple project do you think she will be pushed out?
 

cshea

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Here I was trying to think of a Succession analogy to make but coming up empty. Apple and Google it is.

What a time for golf.
 

FL4WL3SS

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I'm not going to get too deep into this, but they were independent contractors who knowingly and willingly broke the contract they signed. I'm reasonably certain that if Google hires a contractor that then tells Google that they are going to break that contract to go work for Apple, and Google tells them that if they do, they won't ever work at Google again, no one would think that's an unreasonable reaction.

As to the salary and cost of living aspect, there are many contracts get paid on deliverables, not on hours worked and have no guaranteed minimum payments.
This is a fair response, thank you.
 

radsoxfan

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I honestly think they end up just being forced to follow the current eligibility rules (plus any spite penalty they decide to enforce). If they're already exempt due to major wins, OWGR ranking, etc they're in. If not? Get to qualifying for the events like everyone else. You left, earn your way back in by getting your tour card. I'm guessing a lot of the washed up guys will wait for the Champions Tour instead of re-qualifying.

This is all a total guess and is likely to be wrong.
Seems like it's got to be some version of this.

The auto exempt major winners are back. Anyone who still qualifies even after not making a cut for X amount of time is probably back. Everyone else is back to square 1 and qualifies like everyone else.

After a few years things will even out and the best players will all be back, and some of the current fringe PGA guys will be gone. Though truthfully those current fringe PGA guys are lucky they ever made it to the tour in the first place.
 

Average Reds

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Sounds like the stress of the past year+ caused an unspecified medical emergency. (Heart? Stroke? Who knows?) Regardless, Monahan’s medical situation just injected another level of complexity into a chaotic, evolving situation.
 

jercra

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Seems like it's got to be some version of this.

The auto exempt major winners are back. Anyone who still qualifies even after not making a cut for X amount of time is probably back. Everyone else is back to square 1 and qualifies like everyone else.

After a few years things will even out and the best players will all be back, and some of the current fringe PGA guys will be gone. Though truthfully those current fringe PGA guys are lucky they ever made it to the tour in the first place.
None of them have eligibility on TOUR. There is a minimum number of events you need to play in a year to maintain eligibility (without an excused absence). None of the LIV players met that criteria last.
 

radsoxfan

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None of them have eligibility on TOUR. There is a minimum number of events you need to play in a year to maintain eligibility (without an excused absence). None of the LIV players met that criteria last.
I’m sure there are logistics to deal with but I just can’t imagine making even the top guys go back to qualifying, maybe I’m wrong.

If you pretended they didn’t go to LIV but instead played the PGA tour and missed every cut during that gap, how many would still be eligible?
 

jercra

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I’m sure there are logistics to deal with but I just can’t imagine making even the top guys go back to qualifying, maybe I’m wrong.

If you pretended they didn’t go to LIV but instead played the PGA tour and missed every cut during that gap, how many would still be eligible?
Eligibility is extremely complicated so that would be difficult to figure out. The problem is that the number of cards is limited and there aren't just a bunch of spots left unfilled by those who left. My guess, and it's just a personal guess, is that most will play their way back in via sponsor's exemptions and not all of them will be eligible for those.