A Hall of Famer has sent an open letter to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan following the news of a merger between the PGA Tour and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF).
Two weeks ago, it was announced that the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and the PIF had made an agreement to create a new, for-profit entity in an attempt to unify men's professional golf.
The new entity will be a combination of the commercial rights and businesses of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, as well as the golf-related commercial businesses and rights of the PIF - which includes LIV Golf.
The news came as a shock to nearly everyone in the golf world. For much of the past year and half, LIV Golf and the PGA Tour have been involved in a legal battle with one another.
Many PGA Tour players were considered 'loyal' for staying with the tour while their peers signed lucrative contracts to join the new rival league.
A day following the bombshell announcement, Rory McIlroy spoke to the media on his thoughts.
The Northern Irishman had become somewhat of a spokesman for the PGA Tour throughout 2022 as LIV Golf came to fruition.
During the press conference, McIlroy said he now feels like a "sacrificial lamb" amid the new development.
On Monday, a day after Wyndham Clark was crowned the 123rd US Open Champion, eight-time major winner Tom Watson wrote an open letter addressed to the commissioner, the PGA Tour's board, and the players, which was posted to Golf Digest.
Watson began by wishing Monahan a "speedy recovery" after the PGA Tour announced last Tuesday that he'd had a medical issue would be stepping away from his role to recover.
"Unfortunately, in the wake of recent news, I also understand the cries of hypocrisy," Watson then wrote. "Because he is a smart man, I know Jay does too. In my opinion, the communication has been mishandled and the process by which the Tour agreed on a proposed partnership with PIF was executed without due process."
Watson added that he believes the PGA Tour's traditional business model was "clearly" threatened by LIV Golf.
The 73-year-old said he wasn't at the players meeting that was held the Tuesday the news broke, but that he believes an explanation for the agreement is still due.
"The Commissioner and the PGA Tour Board, on which five Tour players sit, are going to have to do a lot of first hand explaining to comfortably coax acceptance with our membership on this partnership with the PIF," he said.
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"The Tour's stakeholders: the players themselves, the broad span of global media, as well as the tournament sponsors and independent Tour partners, require an explanation of the benefits of forming this partnership."
Watson also commented on 9/11 in the letter.
Ultimately, Watson said his "overarching" question was this:
"Is the PIF the only viable rescue from the Tour’s financial problems? Was/is there a plan B? And again, what exactly is the exchange?"
Read the full open letter below:
Tom Watson has spoken out about the merger. pic.twitter.com/Emf1LmeSVM— GOLF.com (@GOLF_com) June 19, 2023