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PGA Tour chief Jay Monahan said he understood being branded a “hypocrite” after brokering the stunning merger with LIV Golf.

Monahan was accused of hypocrisy after announcing that the PGA Tour and DP World Tour had agreed a tie-up with the Saudi-backed LIV circuit in a bid to end golf’s civil war.

The PGA Tour chief — who has railed against LIV since its inception while simultaneously lobbying star tour players to resist huge paydays to join the circuit — attended a tense meeting with players at the Canadian Open in Toronto on Tuesday.

US media reported that furious players — who had been kept in the dark about the merger until the news broke on Tuesday — challenged Monahan over the merger at the meeting.

In a media conference call later Tuesday, Monahan acknowledged that criticism directed at him was inevitable.

“I recognize everything that I’ve said in the past and my prior positions,” said Monahan, who will be the chief executive of the new tour.

“I recognize that people are going to call me a hypocrite.”

The PGA Tour chief insisted his staunch defence of the tour over the past year was in good faith, but that “circumstances do change.”

“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,” Monahan said.

“I accept those criticisms, 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.”

Monahan meanwhile defended the cloak-and-dagger nature of the merger talks with LIV that led to Tuesday’s announcement.

“Given the complexity of what we were dealing with, it’s not uncommon that the circle of information is very tight,” Monahan said.

“In our case, we kept that information very tight…we were not in a position to share or explain, as we normally would, and that was really a result of the commitment we had made to maintaining confidentiality through the end.”

ESPN reported on Tuesday that two of the PGA Tour’s biggest stars — Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy — were also not informed of the deal in advance.

Woods is reported to have turned down an offer in the region of $800 million to join LIV last year, while McIlroy is reported to have rejected a $400 million offer to switch circuits.

McIlroy, arguably the most vocal opponent of LIV amongst the PGA Tour’s players, is playing at the Canadian Open this week.

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