Tom Watson (Getty Images)
- Fallout continues from the recently announced merger between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf.
- Legend Tom Watson had his say on the matter.
- Watson asked the PGA Tour to provide full details of the merger.
American golf legend Tom Watson on Monday demanded the PGA Tour provide full details of its merger with Saudi backers LIV Golf, saying the deal left many questions unanswered.
In an open letter sent to PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, Watson, an eight-time major champion, said the explosive deal announced June 6 was negotiated “without due process.”
The 73-year-old former U.S. Ryder Cup captain posed a series of questions to Monahan in the letter while asking whether the merger was motivated by financial necessity.
“What does accepting this partnership mean for the Tour? What are we getting? What are we giving up?” » Watson asked.
“Why was this deal done in such secrecy and why wasn’t even one of the players who sits on the Tour board included?”
Under the deal announced earlier this month, the PGA Tour and DP World Tour have joined forces with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which financed the new LIV Golf Tour .
Watson acknowledged that the rise of LIV Golf had threatened the PGA Tour’s business model, while creating “unprecedented obstacles and battles with both moral and financial consequences.”
Watson questioned whether the tie-up with the Saudi PIF – a government-controlled fund that reportedly manages assets worth $650 billion – was the only way to ensure the long-term survival of the PGA Tour.
“Is the PIF the only way out of the Tour of financial problems? Was there/was there a plan B?” » Watson asked.
“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.”
Watson also took shots at the PGA Tour’s “hypocrisy” by embracing LIV’s Saudi supporters.
Monahan addressed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington last year when urging PGA Tour players not to join the LIV. Fifteen of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudi citizens, and Monahan’s abrupt change of heart was criticized by the families of victims of the attacks.
“I ask the tour, how can something that is non-negotiable for us one day be negotiated the next?” Watson asked in the letter, referring to 9/11.
“My loyalty to golf and this country lies in one place and has held equal and significant weight with me throughout my life,” added Watson.
“Please educate me and others in a way that allows for loyalty to both and in a way that makes it easy to look the 9/11 families in the eye and ourselves in the mirror.”