Sedona, AZ – October 25, 2023 – Let’s dive into a tale that sounds more like a scripted drama than a chapter from the golf world. So, the LIV Golf Tour and the PGA Tour thought they’d create a match made in golf heaven. But instead of walking calmly on the greens, they’ve walked into a geopolitical storm.
Now, LIV Golf events were supposed to be this golden ticket for golfers to strut their stuff in the big leagues – we’re talking Masters, US Open, and PGA Championships. But someone yelled “fore!” and their ranking points got denied. This has left LIV golfers eyeing the PGA rankings like kids outside a candy store.
Enter sportswashing – a term that’s been buzzed about since 2018. It’s like when nations with sketchy human rights records try to play nice by hosting or owning bits of the sport’s world to gloss over their not-so-stellar actions. The LIV- PGA merger has this term being thrown around again, especially with the Middle East conflicts boiling in the background.
Now, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, after the recent Hamas attacks on Israel, thought it’d be a good time to have a chat with Iran. This plot twist has made the merger look like a scene from a soap opera. Why? Because it brings Saudi’s wish to own a slice of the golf world into the spotlight. And let’s just say, not everyone is thrilled about it, especially some folks in Congress.
As we inch closer to the December 31 merger deadline, the air is thick with speculation. Are other big pockets eyeing an investment in PGA as a plan B to this merger? Endeavor, the big name behind UFC and Bull Riders Tour, is reportedly one of the interested parties.
Looking back, this isn’t the first time sports and murky politics have danced together. Remember Germany’s 1936 Olympics or Russia’s antics with the Winter Olympics and World Cup? It’s like a rerun of an old movie, but with golf clubs instead.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund owning the LIV Golf Tour, now intertwined with PGA, has many shaking their heads. The argument? Countries slipping on human rights shouldn’t get to own major sports platforms. It’s like inviting the school bully to be the referee.
The recent terror attacks have only added fuel to the fire, especially if Saudi Arabia decides to buddy up with Iran, a supporter of Hamas. It’s a messy love triangle that has the PGA-LIV merger teetering on the brink.
Sports were supposed to be this universal language, a field where political colors didn’t matter. But when the core values of sports get tangled up with political discord, it’s a whole new ball game. The PGA-LIV merger saga is a glaring example of this convoluted relationship, and as the deadline looms, the golf community finds itself at a pivotal juncture, questioning the essence of merging sports with geopolitics.