LIV Long And Prosper

LIV Long And Prosper


Leonard Zwelling

If you are one of those people who does not care about professional golf, the merger announced on June 6 between the traditional PGA Tour and DP World Tour and the upstart LIV Tour, underwritten by the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund, is of little consequence. And, in the grand scheme of things, I guess it is. But this is a real lesson in hypocrisy, greed, and the power of money to move mountains, even if they are made out of sand.

The LIV Tour, so named because the letters spell out the Roman numerals 54, the number of holes the tour’s tournaments last (as opposed to the 72 holes on the PGA and DP World Tours), has been a thorn in the side of the PGA for about 18 months now as the Saudi-backed series of tournaments flouted traditional golf decorum and lavished wealth on those players who bolted the PGA Tour for the big (but dirty) money. The tournaments had loud music. The players could wear shorts. Every player was guaranteed a paycheck (some getting hundreds of millions of dollars in guaranteed payouts as well). The real problem was not only the establishment of a parallel golf reality, but having the Saudis do so with oil money despite their dismal records on human rights, women’s rights, and assassination of journalists (the Washington Post’s Jamal Khashoggi). LIV also ran two tournaments at Trump properties adding another layer of rancor to the new tour.

In response, the PGA Tour banned those players who signed with LIV from the PGA tournaments. The PGA does not control any of the four major tournaments (Masters, US Open, British Open, or PGA tournament which is not run by the PGA Tour). The PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan had said that any player joining the LIV Tour would never be allowed back on the PGA Tour. He is quoted thusly: “I would ask any player that has left, or any player that would ever consider leaving: Have you had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?” I wonder what changed his mind.

Those that want apologies now are the surviving members of the families of those who perished on 9/11 who believe the Saudis were involved with that terrorist attack. There are also a whole lot of PGA pros who stayed loyal to Monahan and the PGA Tour and who eschewed the large pay checks that LIV offered. Many them, especially Rory McElroy and Tiger Woods, were outspoken in their disdain for their money-hungry golf buddies.

The details are still to be ironed out. When will the merger schedule start? Will those who stayed loyal to the PGA be compensated for not taking the blood money? Will the new PGA events be 72 holes? Will everyone get a paycheck just for showing up? (Will professional golf become like Little League soccer where everyone gets a trophy?)

Here’s the point this all makes.

This merger was largely formulated by about 7 people at most. The PGA Tour pros were caught off guard when this merger was announced. Many of them have been very vocal about those who have left for the LIV Tour. There are deep rifts among the players that will need to be healed if this is to work. But mostly, the players have to approve the merger.

The governed were not consulted when this merger was formulated and the announcement was news to those most affected. I suspect, in the end, this merger will take place. There is simply too much Saudi money for anyone to pass up. That’s the reason for the title of this blog (apologies to Mr. Spock). This merger was all about the PGA being battered by the Saudi money and finding a way to get in on the action.

I remember when the NFL finally acceded to the existence of the AFL and how Joe Namath finalized the deal in Super Bowl III when his New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts for the first AFC win in the big game. In a similar fashion, the LIV Tour’s Brooks Koepka winning the PGA Tournament a few weeks back boosted the chances for a merger.

Maybe this merger will work out in the end as well, but to those on the outside, we all now know what Jay Monahan was and is. It was just about negotiating the price.

What would be hysterical would be the government nixing the merger as inhibiting competition. Ha!

Dr. Zwelling’s new novel, Conflict of Interest: Money Drives Medicine and People Die is available at:,

on amazon if you search using the title and subtitle, 


directly from the publisher Dorrance at:

2 thoughts on “LIV Long And Prosper”

  1. Possibly the best thing that ever happened to professional golf what is the creation of a competitive Tournament to the PGA. The players had never been consulted about any thing that the PGA is done in the past and it’s been basically a monopoly and very dictatorial by the PGA. A competitive golf organization such as this (LIV) Is possibly the best thing that can happen to professional golf for the future of the players.

    1. Leonard Zwelling

      I care about the source of LIV’s money. Otherwise, you are correct. But in the end, the money talked.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *