The PGA Tour’s stunning hypocrisy in a deal that promises to benefit Trump and the Saudis

The PGA Tour’s stunning hypocrisy in a deal that promises to benefit Trump and the Saudis

Jemele Hill writes:

When PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan was asked last year about his indefinite suspension of 17 players for joining the rival LIV Golf league, Monahan chastised the golfers for choosing money over morality.

Because LIV gets its money from Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy notorious for its human-rights abuses, Monahan implied that players who chose LIV over professional golf’s preeminent league would regret their association with the kingdom. “I would ask any player that has left or any player that would consider leaving, have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?” Monahan said then.

But in one of the most stunningly hypocritical reversals in recent sports history, Monahan is now on Team LIV and, by extension, Team Saudi Arabia.

The PGA Tour and LIV Golf announced yesterday that they will merge their business operations, proving that one of the Wu-Tang Clan’s most famous lyrics remains unerringly true: Cash rules everything.

Monahan struggled to explain his flip-flop. “I recognize that people are going to call me a hypocrite. Anytime I said anything, I said it with the information that I had at that moment, and I said it based on someone that’s trying to compete for the PGA Tour and our players. I accept those criticisms,” he said during a conference call. “But circumstances do change. I think that in looking at the big picture and looking at it this way, that’s what got us to this point.”

But the circumstances aren’t what changed. The PGA Tour just decided that it wants access to LIV Golf’s enormous financial resources, which come from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. One of the world’s largest sovereign-wealth funds, it has an estimated $600 billion in assets.

The fund is controlled by Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—the same man whom the CIA has deemed culpable for the murder of the Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi. The prince has admitted that Saudi officials were behind Khashoggi’s death but denied any personal involvement in the journalist’s murder.

The problem with the golf merger isn’t just that the PGA Tour eagerly prostituted itself, or that it didn’t even have the decency to consult its players before making the deal, or that it didn’t care that some players actually had moral objections to LIV Golf, or that the PGA’s sudden shift was unfair to other golfers who, under the assumption that Monahan would stand firm, had previously turned down the opportunity to make millions of dollars by defecting. By selling out, the PGA Tour has also permanently aligned itself with a country that tortures prisonersexecutes dissidents and others for vaguely defined offensessubjects women to second-class treatment, and criminalizes homosexuality. The PGA’s decision horrified the families of 9/11 victims. [Continue reading…]

The New York Times reports:

The surprising deal on Tuesday ending a civil war in the world of professional golf stands to produce benefits for former President Donald J. Trump’s family business by increasing the prospect of major tournaments continuing to be played at Trump-owned courses in the United States and perhaps abroad.

The outcome is the latest example of how the close relationship between Mr. Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, and Saudi Arabia, whose sovereign wealth fund is the force behind the upheaval in the golf world, has proved beneficial to both sides even as it has prompted intense ethical scrutiny and political criticism. [Continue reading…]

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