PGA puts Saudis in the win column

MIKE BURKE

Allegany Communications Sports­­

I may not know much about golf, but I know a double-cross when I see one.

Please. Spare me from ever again preaching about the integrity of golf, golf morality and code or how it teaches honesty, values and accountability. Not that it ever carried much weight, as our previous president was the subject of the Rick Reilly bestseller, “Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump;” but now that the PGA Tour has sold out to the Saudis it carries even less cred.

The heavy hitters of the PGA, including its best players, even the ones who would not defect to the LIV, collectively have the same core principles as the greedy and self-centered snobs such as Judge Smails and his lackeys of the fictional Bushwood Country Club or from any other silly Hollywood golf movie, as the reason satire and spoof work is the basis of both, the thesis that is being spoofed, is the core line of truth of its subject.

The PGA has been in a panic about their feud with the LIV turning off fans at a time when both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are all but finished. TV ratings will never be what they were when those two were in their prime, so first Mickelson, then the PGA Tour caved to the Saudis and took their blood money, hoisting themselves into the sports-washing business, of which the Saudis are the undisputed king … no pun intended.

The PGA flat-out sold-out after years of appealing to its players to hold the line and to not sell out themselves, and the financial pie in golf will never be fair or even again. The stars, even those who didn’t make the jump to the LIV, will get most of it for merely showing up, but it will be the players — good players, obviously — that non-golf people such as myself have never heard of who will become the tackling dummies.

PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan last year told Jim Nantz on CBS, after invoking the pain of 9/11 families, “I would ask any player that has left or any player that would consider leaving, ‘Have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?’ ”

The players who stayed likely feel as though they have to now.

The families of 9/11 victims said in a statement they felt betrayed by the PGA, which is fully understandable given the baloney Monahan had been feeding them, PGA Tour players and the rest of the world. That carries real weight.

Tiger Woods, on the other hand, who did turn down at least $800 million to make the jump to LIV, saying he feels betrayed is an entirely different story.

Tiger Woods has no idea what being betrayed is, but he could ask his former wife for her thoughts on the matter

The deal was made for profit, yet the PGA Tour hopes to remain a tax-exempt, non-profit organization and retain full control over how its tournaments are played. Yet all of the PGA Tour’s commercial business and rights — such as the rights to televise its tournaments — would be owned by a new, still to be named for-profit entity that is currently called NewCo, which will also own the LIV as well as the commercial and business rights of the DP World Tour.

Yes, we want to be a for-profit enterprise, but wish to remain tax-exempt and non-profit just like the NFL if you can believe that. And more on those jaspers later.

Monahan said on Tuesday the deal with the LIV will unify golf, which must be why no actual golfers knew about the deal until it hit social media.

Why would the PGA Tour join forces with such a low-life start-up such as the LIV, which has failed to garner television ratings since its inception? Well, we know why. The real question is who amongst the PGA Tour hierarchy will get the bulk of the blood money? This has conflict of interest written all over it.

It is all still so vague, which is how the Saudis want it since they are the ones financing it.

North Carolina-based sports reporter Pat Welter wrote on Twitter, “The hypocrisy is obvious. The PGA Tour takes the Saudi money after two years grandstanding against it. They sold their soul to #LIVGolf and where it’s really going to cost them is control. Because the person signing the checks always wins.”

In fairness to Woods, he did criticize the Saudi league long before the merger was announced, saying late last year that “an endless pit of money” was not a way to “create legacies.”

He’s right about that. It’s a way to try to erase them. Hence the term “sportswashing.”

The PGA Tour should be ashamed of itself. Clearly, though, it has no shame.

Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected] and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT