A few thoughts on the merger of the LIV tour with the PGA—not because Writing Boots readers care about this, but since I wrote a thing about LIV a year ago …
I did some writing for Golf Digest fifteen years ago. When Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, I thought I’d marry my political interest with my golf writing, and I pitched a story about PGA players and their politics.
“You don’t want to know,” the editor told me, turning the idea down on grounds that his readers didn’t want to know, either.
Since then, I’ve kept a list in my head of “possible Democrats” in professional golf, past and present. Maybe Gentle Ben Crenshaw, with his beloved Black caddy Carl Jackson? Nope, big Trumper. Jack Nicklaus? Loved how Trump was “turning America upside down.” Looking not a little like the Lord of the Sith in short pants, Jack played with Trump, as late as 2019—along with the man whose father thought he was going to “do more than any man in history to change the course of humanity,” Tiger Woods.
The only pro Democrat golfer anyone knows of is a journeyman you’ve never heard of, named Paul Goydos. The only.
Which is what made it so interesting, this year, when a number of PGA players joined their commissioner, Jay Monahan, and sided self-righteously against the greedy, creepy Saudi bastards, making a pro-PGA position seem like being a Jedi Knight, up against the Galactic Empire. (Even if the moral imperative of the cause was as dubious as the always solemnly intoned “game of golf.”)
When fading star Sergio Garcia urged superstar Rory McIlroy to join the LIV tour to “finally get paid what we deserve,” McIlroy reportedly replied, “Sergio. We’re golfers. We don’t deserve to be paid anything.”
Tonight I’m watching the Golf Channel, and these commentators look stricken by this development.
“Pure shock,” says the Golf Channel’s most influential commentator Brandel Chamblee, adding that he feels “betrayed” because he and many PGA players stuck with the PGA “on principle.” He calls this merger “one of the saddest days in the history of professional golf.” Then, he ascribed the deal to: “There must have been so much legal vulnerability … so a deal was struck.”
Maybe Chamblee and his Golf Channel colleagues didn’t want to know about the vicious economic interests that drive professional golf.
But now they finally do.
And soon enough, we’ll hear all of them talking in dulcet tones about how much the new tour donates every year to fucking St. Jude Children’s Hospital.