Livescore Wednesday, April 24

LIV Golf and the PGA Tour will be entering the clubhouse together. 

A peace treaty has been called on golf’s civil war, with the rival organizations agreeing to a merger. Along with the DP World Tour, the three golf tours will form a new entity. 

While a merger that will reunite all of the best golf players in the world under one umbrella is, definitively, a good thing for golf, there are still plenty who don’t make out as well with the news of the new entity — and some that come out looking like bandits, in more ways than one.

MORE: Everything you need to know about the PGA Tour and LIV Golf merger

From Tiger Woods to Phil Mickelson, here are the winners and losers from the major golf merger:

Winner: LIV Golf

Whether you choose to believe that LIV Golf was truly the future of golf or that it was on its deathbed (TV ratings, at least, didn’t paint a pretty picture), the entity may have succeeded one of its goals: changing the course of golf. 

Whichever side you fall on, LIV Golf was thrown a lifeline from the PGA Tour at the end of the day, ending the schism, with the established tour acknowledging LIV Golf and opening a path to integrate PGA Tour defectors back into its ranks. While the future of LIV and what it may look like beyond 2023 (if it exists at all) remains to be seen, the fact that they even got to this point is a massive win.

The PGA Tour seemingly acted in its own self-interest, not out of fear of extinction, but rather the love of money. With the merger, the Tour will likely protect its tax-free exemption and also to open a pipeline of Saudi Public Investment Firm (PIF) money.

Ultimately, LIV’s money means that the tour was a big winner — even if the “victory” isn’t everything it seems to be.

MORE: How LIV Golf failed The CW with its experiment in 2023

Losers: Tiger Woods and other PGA Tour players who stayed

Some people prefer money over loyalty. Others favor loyalty over bags of cash. The ones in the latter category didn’t make out well in the merger.

While Tiger Woods won’t have to worry about going bankrupt any time soon, he had a reported $800 million sitting on his desk from LIV Golf, which he turned down. That level of integrity is totally fine, cool and admirable; but had Tiger and others who decided to rebuff LIV Golf’s flirtations realized that a merger was a possibility, maybe they would have thought twice about sticking to the Tour in 2022.

This opens up a can of worms and asks more questions than answers for other PGA Tour players: Will they get guaranteed salaries now, to mirror those who got signing bonuses with LIV Golf? What happens to the PGA’s format and scheduling?

You may not be able to put a price on integrity, but there are probably at least some PGA Tour players who are upset they missed out on a big payday.

MORE: PGA Tour golfers react to LIV-PGA Tour merger: ‘It’s insanity’

Winners: LIV Golf players …

Whoever said you can’t have your cake and eat it, too, clearly wasn’t a LIV Golf player.

Some of the world’s biggest and most notable players made the jump to LIV Golf last year, including Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Cameron Smith, some cashing checks in the hundreds of millions of dollars. That money comes in addition to the hefty tournament paydays and a lighter schedule, which is what some players wanted in the immediate, too.

Now, those players who have had those PGA Tour cards taken away may have the opportunity to regain them, and once again play on the PGA Tour, all while keeping their direct deposit intact. 

While it remains to be seen how those LIV Golf players will be reintegrated to the PGA Tour in the coming year, some of their mission of changing how golf operates seems to be a big win.

… especially Phil Mickelson

Mickelson has gone from Hulk Hogan to Hollywood Hogan since making the jump to LIV Golf, often going on the attack against the PGA Tour and commissioner Jay Monahan. You have to figure that this is a sweet, sweet moment for Mickelson, who has been the de facto face of LIV Golf since making the jump in 2022.

Loser: Jay Monahan

“Have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?” – Jay Monahan, June 12, 2022.

The PGA Tour commissioner has been given the Old Takes Exposed treatment quite a bit for that quote from nearly a year ago, and no figure in the entire LIV Golf-PGA Tour beef (and merger) has more questions to answer than Monahan.

Monahan took very strong stances on players who defected to LIV Golf, handing out indefinite suspensions and cutting up PGA Tour cards for those who signed up with the new golf league in 2022. That rubbed a lot of former players the wrong way, and Monahan, who championed the PGA Tour and helped bring in new financials to the sport, ended up taking a steel chair to the back of the Tour.

Rather than sticking to his guns and helping guide the (supposedly) player-driven PGA Tour through the golf civil war, he stunned plenty by having secret meetings with PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, eventually leading to the merger (and Al-Rumayyan sitting on the PGA Tour policy board). 

That’s not a pretty picture for Monahan.

Winner: Jay Monahan

That said, not all is bad for him. The PGA Tour may have made strange bedfellows with LIV Golf, but Monahan gets to keep his job as PGA Tour commish and also get a shiny, new title of CEO for the new, merged golf entity, making him one of the most powerful figures in the golf world. 

Monahan may have egg on his face, but he’ll at least have $100 bills to wipe it off with.

Losers: Fans of LIV Golf’s format

Watching LIV Golf felt like something of a fever dream. The camera cuts, the ping-pong broadcasting and the party atmosphere really felt like it was made for The CW and YouTube, and not primetime sports television.

None should expect LIV Golf’s format, including shotgun starts, three rounds and no cuts, to be a mainstay for whatever comes next. The PGA Tour made it clear that they will find a way to incorporate the “team aspect” of LIV Golf into the professional ranks, but don’t expect major changes to the format. At least, not if the PGA Tour players have anything to say about it.

Winners: Golf fans

Fans dug in on both sides of the aisle needn’t worry about having to find The CW or what, exactly, is a PGA Tour “designated event” anymore. 

The world’s best players competing under the same umbrella, on the same tour, is a good thing for golf and its fans as a whole. Watching players take potshots at one another in press conferences like hormonal high school students is pretty unbecoming of golf as a whole.

Whenever the dust settles and fans know what they can keep their eyes on will be a good thing. Until the next golf tour comes along.

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