Long-time LIV Golf critic takes flamethrower to $3bn PGA Tour-SSG deal

Long-time LIV Golf critic Brandel Chamblee has offered his full verdict on the PGA Tour's $3bn deal with Strategic Sports Group.

Long-time LIV Golf critic takes flamethrower to $3bn PGA Tour-SSG deal
Long-time LIV Golf critic takes flamethrower to $3bn PGA Tour-SSG deal

Brandel Chamblee says the PGA Tour should stop 'playing the Saudis' game' as he offered a dim view of the North American's $3bn deal with Strategic Sports Group.

Golf Channel analyst Chamblee has been banging the drum against the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf over the last two years. 

The former PGA Tour pro has sparred with LIV's posterboy, Phil Mickelson, on X repeatedly and even called for the six-times major champion to be removed from the hall of fame. 

His criticism of LIV has been so prominent that it didn't take long for the now 61-year-old to find himself at the centre of one of the most stunning about-faces we have seen in sports history. 

We are of course referring to the PGA Tour's 'framework agreement' with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund that was announced on 6 June last year. 

No sooner was the announcement made did LIV's Brooks Koepka post on X gleefully: "Welfare check on Chamblee."

Chamblee's take back then wasn't surprising in the least. The saddest day in professional golf, he said, pointing the finger of blame at the Tour's leadership. 

Since that day the Tour and PIF have been negotiating - we were led to believe - a deal that would effectively end golf's 'civil war'. 

But the future seems messier than ever after the PGA Tour announced a private equity deal worth around $3bn with the aforementioned SSG. 

PGA policy board member Jordan Spieth recently suggested the Tour no longer needed PIF investment, which perplexed Rory McIlroy. 

"If I were PIF and I was hearing that, the day after doing this SSG deal, it wouldn't have made me too happy," said McIlroy

Fellow policy board member Webb Simpson stated thinking about PIF involvement wasn't a priority. 

It seems a dangerous game to play when you consider the PIF is worth around $700bn more than SSG.  

Which brings us to Chamblee's latest take. 

He's not happy about the idea of rewarding PGA Tour members for their loyalty. 

As far as he is concerned, the PIF have merely bought a moment in time with LIV. 

Chamblee wrote on X:

"The idea of paying current players for their loyalty and giving them equity is, in my opinion, blind to what the PGA Tour is.
"It is an entity that is the sum of the toil of players, executives, sponsors and volunteers over the course of more than a century.
"Each one was a part of something that predated their participation and it was their responsibility to try to make it better and pass it on.
"Paying current players for their loyalty and giving them equity ignores the very legacy the PGA Tour claims to want to protect and in essence gives false credit for the creation of something today's players merely contributed to.
"The Saudis in their ignorance have merely bought a moment in time, but the tour has something they cannot buy, a pipeline of players that will replace those poached.
"Just the ones who've come out in the last year can likely beat 9/10ths of the LIV tour.
"The PGA Tour needs to stop playing the Saudis game of buying players and get back to playing their game of producing great players and stories.
"The PGA Tour may not be able to compete when it comes to buying players (although the SSG could mitigate this in creative ways) but the Saudis can't even come close to producing them."

LIV Golf have reacted to the SSG deal. Chief executive Greg Norman sent a defiant message to golfers before LIV Golf Mayakoba

And chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan suggested the tour is forging ahead with their plans beyond 2024

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