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PGA Tour players react to merger with LIV Golf
Collin Morikawa is one of several players who have already taken to social media to voice displeasure with the PGA Tour’s handling of its merger with LIV Golf. (Credit: Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK)

PGA Tour players react to merger with LIV Golf

(BVM) – For over a year, one of the biggest headlines in professional golf has been the ongoing legal battle between the PGA Tour and the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf league. On Tuesday, the two sides came to a surprising resolution, announcing a merger along with the DP World Tour to form one large commercial golf business.

The move ended any pending litigation between the PGA Tour and LIV, and will allow all professional golfers to come together and compete globally under a singular entity. 

However, the shocking move is not without controversy, particularly on the PGA Tour side. As the tour saw some of its biggest faces move to LIV over the past year, namely guys like Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Bryson Dechambeau, it imposed a ban on those players to be able to rejoin the PGA Tour.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan also strongly voiced his displeasure with LIV Golf a number of times, with one of his most notable statements coming almost exactly a year ago at the 2022 Canadian Open.

In addition, some of the faces of the PGA Tour like Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods continued to speak out against LIV Golf time and again, as multiple antitrust claims continued to be filed between the two leagues.

On top of that, the announcement made Tuesday was even more shocking due to the fact PGA Tour players had no idea it was coming. That has already spurred plenty of reaction from players on social media, much of which is not positive. One of the tour’s brightest young stars, Collin Morikawa, was one of the first to take to Twitter to voice his displeasure.

Two-time PGA Tour winner Mackenzie Hughes echoed similar sentiments about being left in the dark on the manner by the PGA, as did 29-year-old pro Michael Kim. 

Joel Dahmen, known for his laid-back personality and demeanor on the golf course, also poked fun at the new merger.

Predictably, golfers on the LIV side are thrilled to see the merger come about. Mickelson has been much-maligned over the past year or so as one of the faces of LIV Golf’s creation, but the merger, as well as being proved right on many of the comments he has made recently about the PGA Tour, have made him plenty happy with the news.

One of LIV’s other most-notable players in Koepka also chimed in on the matter on Twitter. Koepka is perhaps one of the reasons this deal got done faster than most would have imagined, as his victory at last month’s PGA Championship created a controversial discussion on whether or not he should be a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team this fall.

One of the biggest advocates against that happening was Golf Channel personality Brandel Chamblee, who has been against LIV Golf from the start.

More reaction is sure to happen on the manner in the hours and days to come, particularly ahead of this week’s Canadian Open on the PGA Tour. Meanwhile, LIV Golf’s next event doesn’t come until the end of this month at Real Club Valderrama in Spain.

For LIV golfers, taking the risk to join the new league while having more freedom and being able to earn larger sums of money now seems like a big win. For PGA Tour players who passed on that chance and advocated against the Saudi-backed league, they have begun to feel a sense of betrayal, summed up quite well by Wesley Bryan.

Exactly how things will work with this new golf enterprise remain to be seen. But what is clear is that the controversy within the professional golf world has only continued to grow with this announcement.

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