Tiger Woods’ former coach has blasted PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan amid reports the boss of the North American circuit is trying shut down LIV Golf.
Tiger Woods’ ex-coach Hank Haney says the PGA Tour should ‘do the opposite’ of what Jay Monahan wants to do amid reports the circuit’s $3bn deal with Strategic Sports Group was the first step in attempts to ‘shut down’ LIV Golf.
LIV Golf and the PGA Tour have been rivals since June 2022 after the Saudi Arabia-backed league began, and continue, to cherry-pick the game’s biggest stars.
When Jon Rahm joined the rival league for a reported $300m (£238m) last December, it appeared the Saudis were reminding their competitor not to walk away from the peace deal that was announced last June.
The established Tour had missed the deadline to ratify the aforementioned framework agreement and instead announced a $3bn private equity deal with SSG.
Recently it was confirmed how the PGA Tour would divvy $930m worth of equity to the top players as part of that deal.
Moreover, leading players such as World No.1 Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay appeared to indicate the road back to the Tour for LIV players would be difficult given what has transpired over the last two years.
Their position – in stark contrast to Rory McIlroy – has led many to believe the divide in men’s professional golf will remain in place for the foreseeable future given the Tour now has some financial muscle to ‘go it alone’ so to speak.
It’s a dangerous game to play and, despite PGA Tour officials stating a deal with LIV’s financiers could still be on the horizon, the accepted position is the North American circuit does not necessarily want to strike a deal with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund given the scrutiny it would receive from the U.S. government.
It wouldn’t be unreasonable to suggest PGA Tour boss Monahan wants LIV Golf to fail.
When the 6 June framework agreement was announced, the 53-year-old stated he didn’t expect LIV to continue ‘in its current form’ beyond 2024.
At least, he couldn’t foresee a scenario whereby LIV events run concurrently with Tour events.
“I can’t see that,” he said, adding: “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.
“To me, any scenarios that you’re thinking about that bridge between the PGA Tour and LIV would be longer term in nature.”
Woods’ ex-coach Haney took a dim view of the latest reports, writing on X: “Whatever he wants they should probably consider doing the opposite.”