What Is Going On In The World of Golf?

Golf is a sport associated with the créme de la créme of the elite and distinguished. Revered for its grace, precision and passion, golf is a sport that goes beyond the sporting world and into business, lifestyle and elegance. Today, the golf world finds itself approaching a new era that fills the air with anticipation, speculation and intrigue. The most elite tour in the world, PGA Tour, is leaving behind recent drama to venture alongside LIV Golf, an entity that many thought was PGA’s sworn enemy. With this talk of unprecedented partnerships and the promise of adventure in uncharted territory, eyes are firmly fixed on what the future of golf will be. 


Hero Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club. 29 January 2023 in Dubai, Vereinigte Arabische Emirate. Tommy Fleetwood of England. Editorial Credit: Andre61 / Shutterstock.com


The Professional Golfers Association

The PGA, “Professional Golfers Association,” has long been the flagship organization that represents professional golfers and the passion for the sport worldwide. As part of PGA, the PGA Tour has operated in North America since 1929,  when a group of professionals founded the Tournament Players Division of the PGA of America. For almost a century now, they have organized professional tournaments that showcase some of the world’s best golfers. All participants meet to compete for a substantial purse and the obvious prestige that comes from the tournaments themselves. The PGA Tour was officially unveiled in 1968, and throughout the years it has grown exponentially in its prominence, competition and the number of tournaments. Historically, the PGA has been the most noteworthy professional golf tour in the world, being a dream achievement for many and a peerless medal of honor that few can boast. It is thanks to the PGA Tour that we know golf today as the respected sport it is. The tournament has shaped professional golf into a passion, an opportunity, and an entertaining affair that offers rewarding prizes for the golfers and amusement for the fans.


LIV Golf by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia

However prestigious the PGA is, it is not the only tour in the world, and, in recent years, we have seen the birth and rise of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf, a professional golf tour that was previously known as the Super Golf League. With a name inspired by Roman numerals, LIV translates to 54, which happens to be exactly the number of holes that the tournament runs. Boasting an astounding $25 million prize fund for each event, LIV quickly became noticed by PGA, as it achieved an admirable position of being an alternative to the PGA Tour. Knowing the importance of making an entrance, LIV’s first event was launched just last year, on June 9th at the Centurion Club near London. On their official webpage, LIV Golf states that their mission is to “complement the existing format of professional golf and take it to new levels of excitement and engagement with generations of fans.” With an impressively exponential growth, LIV Golf became LIV Golf League in 2023, growing their number of events from 8 to 14 tournaments that are to be played globally.


LIV Team Majesticks: (L-R) Sam Horsfield,Lee Westwood,Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Editorial Credit: L.E.MORMILE / Shutterstock.com


The Drama

No story worth telling would be complete without a little bit of drama, and such is the case between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. Allegations that LIV Golf lured high-profile players away from the traditional tournaments with tempting prizes and opportunities made a feud grow between both leagues, each claiming that the other negatively affected competition. It is commonly said that the PGA Tour, in an attempt to protect themselves from losing valuable players, stated that players could not play in both tournaments, having to choose just one. As a response, LIV Golf sued PGA Tour and accused it of engaging in monopolistic behavior by implementing such rules and limiting players’ access to different tournaments besides their own. In an easy to foresee move, the PGA Tour counterattacked by accusing LIV of illegally luring players to break contracts with the PGA. And just like in any war, casualties were dropping left and right with the professional golf community being divided into opposing sides of the same passion. Some lost endorsements, others turned down opportunities, but no one could have seen this unprecedented plot twist coming.


OCTOBER 13, 2019: Bernd Wiesberger (Austria) wins the cup at end of Day 4 of the 76 Golf Italian Open at Olgiata Golf Club in Rome, Italy. Editorial Credit: Marco Iacobucci Epp / Shutterstock.com


The News

On June 6th, 2023, the PGA Tour, LIV Golf and PGA European Tour announced a new partnership that aims to “unify the game of golf” by combining assets, efforts and, (let’s be honest) supporters. Though many have received this information as it being a merger between the tournaments, it has been officially called a partnership by each of them. The partnership would not only reunite under one roof the professional golfers previously divided in opposing sides, but it would also end all pending litigation and lay to rest any dueling between LIV Golf and PGA. The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, known as PIF, which is the head behind LIV Golf is set to head their board of directors and contribute financial investment towards the new entity. The PGA Tour and LIV Golf will also merge with the DP World Tour, meaning that the three largest golf tours in the world are joining forces to take the exclusive sport to new heights.


Hero Dubai Desert Classic. Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland Hero Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club on January 25, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Editorial Credit: Andre61 / Shutterstock.com


What does the future of golf look like now?

Depends on who you ask. The partnership between both tournaments has caused its fair share of speculation. Now, as the golfing world navigates this paradigm-breaking partnership, it remains true that the sport of golf is a lifestyle, a living and breathing entity that evolves and adapts to the challenges thrown its way. The future of golf is on the cusp of transformation, and what this transformation entails for the sport is still to be seen. One thing remains the same, whether you embrace this new chapter with open arms, or consider it a hypocritical and dangerous maneuver, golf is and will always be a passion for those who can appreciate the art of the sport.

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