The day after: Putting the PGA Tour-PIF deal into context

Sorting through the various questions associated with the new agreement is going to take time, but the first step is moving past the shock and awe

The Players Championship 2020
On June 6, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, shown here at the 2020 Players Championship, announced a deal with Public Investment Fund (PIF), which financially backs LIV Golf, and later that afternoon met with Tour players at the RBC Canadian Open to discuss the matter.

On Tuesday morning, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) that finances LIV Golf, announced on CNBC that their respective entities — along with the DP World Tour — had agreed to unify and form a larger, more global commercial enterprise.

Even if no one was in the forest, you could still hear this tree fall, as the ramifications were far and wide. Immediate media reports detailed how this was a deal done among a very tight network of principals and that most everyone from players to tournament sponsors to leading organizations were blind sided.

On Tuesday afternoon, Monahan met with a roomful of PGA Tour players at the RBC Canadian Open to provide some context and answer questions. The meeting was described as heated and contentious.

So now what? There will likely be few immediate answers as this the various pieces of this mega deal will take some time to unpack. The New York Times' Kevin Draper is one of numerous journalists attempting to put context to the litany of questions.

Rory McIlroy, a staunch PGA Tour loyalist since LIV Golf entered into the equation two years ago, met with the on Wednesday at the RBC Canadian Open, where he is the reigning champion.

"It’s hard for me to not sit up here and feel like a sacrificial lamb," he said.

Per Ryan Lavner, of Golf Channel: McIlroy believes that the Tour, right now, after the agreement, is in a better position than it was a few weeks ago, not least because the costly antitrust litigation has ended. And though there’s much to be figured out — how to bring the LIV players back into the fold; how to incorporate a team element into the Tour schedule; how to appease the Tour loyalists who originally turned down eye-watering sums of money from the Saudis — the ambiguity should be cleared up in the coming weeks.

Where does one begin, though? Fans immediately were curious about what this means for LIV Golf.

Monahan, who will become CEO of this new yet-to-be-named entity, only had conjecture on the topic Tuesday.

"I can't see that scenario, but I haven't gotten into the full evaluation, full empirical evaluation of LIV that I'm going to do to be able to comment on that. But I don't see that scenario, no," Monahan said. "To me, any scenarios that you're thinking about that bridge between the PGA Tour and LIV would be longer term in nature."

While Monahan helped broker the deal, Sports Illustrated's Michael Rosenberg writes, "The future of men’s professional golf hinges on whether specific moral questions matter. Are PGA Tour players cool with taking Saudi Arabia’s Private Investment Fund money, or not? Were they actually offended that they might be used by a murderous regime, or not?"

Rosenberg goes on to pose yet another question: "Jay Monahan spent a year saying this was wrong, only to turn around and say it is right. Players followed him then. Will they follow him now?"