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PGA Sells Out to Saudis

Apparently, it's acceptable to murder and dismember a journalist or hijack planes and crash them into the Twin Towers if enough money is at stake.

That's the only conclusion one can draw from yesterday's shocking announcement that the PGA has agreed to merge with LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed tour funded by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is controlled by the crown prince.

The same Saudi crown prince who U.S. intelligence agencies determined was responsible for the killing and mutilation of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi.

The Saudis were also principally responsible for 9/11. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, and Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the attacks, was born in the country. U.S. officials have determined that Saudi nationals helped fund al-Queda.

You'd think that kind of track record might discourage American golfers from wanting to participate in a tour sponsored by the Saudis.

But it didn't deter promoter Greg Norman, who famously said "look, we've all made mistakes," or two of the bigger names on the PGA Tour, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson, both of whom signed deals in the hundreds of millions.

What's going on in Saudi Arabia is known as "sportswashing." The crown prince is using the LIV tour and other high profile sports events to distract from the kingdom's appalling history of human rights violations in an attempt to rehabilitate its image throughout the world.

Initially, the PGA took the high road and said it wouldn't get into bed with the Saudis and that golfers who participated in LIV events wouldn't be eligible for PGA Tournaments, which spawned a bunch of lawsuits.

Just last year PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan called LIV "an irrational threat" and said "you'd have to be living under a rock not to know there are significant implications. I would ask any player who has left or any player who would consider leaving, 'have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?'"

They didn't then, but they do now.

Most PGA stars, including Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, and former Cal great Collin Morikawa, turned down the Saudi money and stayed loyal to the PGA. Tiger Woods reportedly declined an offer of over $800 million. McIlroy was particularly outspoken in his disdain for everything the Saudis stood for.

Imagine how McIlroy and Woods feel today, totally betrayed by Monahan, who apparently is "living under a rock" and unaware of the implications of his actions.

Monahan has shed last year's pure, ethical persona and now gushes that "through this transformational agreement and with PIF's collaborative investment, the immeasurable strength of the supercharged for the future."

As part of the agreement, all litigation between the parties is cancelled and the merger will create "a new, collectively owned, for-profit entity to ensure that all stakeholders benefit."

That's what billions of Saudi dollars can do for you.

Yesterday's news was met with near universal outrage, not only from PGA players, but from family members of those who were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The group 9/11 Families United, which has protested outside LIV events, said they were "shocked and deeply offended" by the merger.

"PGA Tour leaders should be ashamed of their hypocrisy and greed," said the group's chairwoman, Terry Strada, whose husband died in the World Trade Center's North Tower. "Our entire 9/11 community has been betrayed by Commissioner Monahan and the PGA, as it appears their concern for our loved ones was merely window-dressing in their quest for money."

Not surprisingly, one of the few people who applauded the news was former president Donald Trump, who has hosted a number of LIV golf events at his courses and has never let human rights violations stop him from admiring murdereous Saudi, Russian, North Korean and Chinese dictators.

Last year Trump falsely claimed "nobody's gotten to the bottom of 9/11". Yesterday he weighed in on the merger on his Un-Truth Social platform: "Great news from LIV Golf. A big, beautiful and glamorous deal for the wonderful world of golf."

Mickelson said it was "an awesome day."

The rest of us thought it was another sad, depressing day when money trumped morality.


Gary Cavalli - Bowl and League co-founder, author, speaker 

Gary Cavalli, the former Sports Information Director and Associate Athletic Director at Stanford University, was co-founder and executive director of the college football bowl game played in the Bay Area, and previously was co-founder and President of the American Basketball League.

Get in touch//@cavalli49//

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