Kind of a good thing Rory McIlroy took that brief break after a disappointing showing at the Masters. Definitely needed the mental stamina to withstand this onslaught of stunning news that's rocked the sports world and changed the trajectory of golf forever.
Rory is such a class act. To not accept the reality of this situation is a futile, losing battle, though. Rory recognizes that now after the PGA Tour caved to ally with LIV/the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. He took on way more than anyone could've expected him to as far as being an unofficial spokesman for the PGA Tour during the whole LIV Golf schism. Now he's basically taken the stance of, "well, if this bloody oil money is at least going to the betterment of golf and guarantees it'll prosper in the future, so be it."
This blog is gonna sound like it's all over the place at times, but bear with me. Because that's kind of the point. I think it's OK to have some contradicting feelings/sentiments about all this. That last sentence in the prior paragraph isn't meant to be some sort of moral grandstanding. It's just reality. And the deeper you follow the money in pretty much any sport, the more disturbed you're bound to be as to where some of the funding comes from.
Hell, dig into the circumstances under which many of your clothes originate, how your smartphone is manufactured or explore the darker corners of some of the other multinational giants you support like Amazon, and you might want to live off the grid in the woods somewhere if you get too caught up in the details. Cost, convenience and distancing ourselves in an unprecedented way via technology is the way of the modern world.
OK back to golf and stuff. Not to get too macrocontemplative. Interesting that Rory made the distinction between LIV and PIF in his presser on Wednesday, by the way. Haven't really seen anyone else do that. Interesting remark, too, about how LIV golfers now answer to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan
Tough scene for Monahan, who invoked the 9/11 attacks as a means of fending off any talk of allying with LIV/PIF for a while. Until, you know, he must've realized the Monopoly money that was involved and couldn't help himself.
I'm not blaming anyone for how this all played out. As Rory said, it's ultimately good for the game of golf as long as the cash goes to the right causes. Better for that exorbitant amount of money to go toward something like this than some campaign to violate the Geneva Conventions, basic human rights, or what have you.
And for the morons too dense to understand the difference between, say, supporting the PGA Tour/hating on LIV vs. supporting the NBA despite the latter's strong ties to China and that country's dubious human rights record...I guess I'll finally give it to you. I'll tell you why you're an idiot. It's pretty simple. In so many words, THERE IS NO VIABLE ALTERNATIVE TO THE NBA. You can't go somewhere else in protest to play against anywhere near that type of elite competition, build your legacy at all, or maximize your earnings. The end.
To me, LIV Golf represented the most transparent, clear and obvious moral quandary in sports history. Sell your soul and take assloads of money, or remain loyal to your current league and fucking stand for something. It was short-LIVed (HAHA), and its creation didn't so much as spark an actual competition between the tours as much as it had so much damn money behind it that it made a partnership fiscally inevitable. To reiterate what Rory said, it'll ideally be good for golf in the long run.
Good news is, it seems like Monahan knows how unfair it is for certain world-class players to take those nine-figure LIV paydays while the faces of the PGA Tour held firm and made a fraction of that.
…But yeah, put aside all the different mental hoops you have to jump through, corporate sponsors and secondary channels you need to explore to discover that the PGA Tour is already funded by some dubious entities at a select few tournaments. LIV was one of those rarest of opportunities where an individual could take a principled stance against a seemingly insurmountable, larger-than-life force who could throw all the wealth at them in the world and it wouldn't matter. There's something so powerful about how so many of the world's best players simply said "no" to that.
This was basically the sports equivalent of a Congressperson turning down a bazillion dollars in campaign financing to ensure they'd be reelected until they get old, wrinkly, and retire from Capitol Hill having still accomplished nothing of consequence. And yes, I'm fully aware that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are trade partners to the tune of BILLIONS of dollars annually. It's the principle of the thing that I'm talking about here.
Dante did a great job aggregating all the LIV Golf memes, but I can't help but shoutout this Twitter account, ArtButMakeItSports, for how quick and spot-on they always are in times like these. Let's end on a little happier music, shall we?
Hooray golf! ……..I guess? Eventually? This really does feel like one of those days where you're like, "Yeah that makes sense. OK I see where everyone's coming from. Sure this seems like the best thing long-term business-wise. But damn I still feel a little gross and weird about it all."
Then those of us who do feel any type of way like that will all forget about that weird gross feeling and be drunkenly yelling at our TVs before we know it "DURR SPORTZZ!!!" and totally lose sight of the fact that any of this ever happened.
Cut to two years later: "Wait, where do all these massive purses and prize money come from again!?!? This seems like a LOT of money!! Wow! Wait no bro but seriously, where? How!?!?"