The PGA Tour’s deal with the Public Investment Fund continues to upset not only current players, but even some of the game’s legends.
Ernie Els, a 19-time PGA Tour winner, criticized commissioner Jay Monahan after his first round at The Open Championship on Thursday, saying the tour is «absolutely in shambles.»
Els, 53, says if the deal between the PGA and PIF, which funds LIV Golf, happened during Els’ heyday, «there’s no way [Monahan’s] around.»
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«No way. And the board has to change. You do this. I’m sorry, it’s not right. Talk to us, tell us what you’re going to do, plan to negotiate. Don’t go rogue as a board member and come back with a deal and think we’re all going to say yes. You’re affecting people’s lives. You’re affecting the professional game. It’s so bad,» Els told Sports Illustrated.
The four-time Grand Slam winner also called LIV’s team aspect «circus golf».
«Team golf doesn’t work. It works maybe in a happy season of two or three months. Get these guys together, get teams together and play all over the world. But (then) play real golf. That’s what it’s all about.
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«That’s what I was proud of. Like Tiger (Woods) and some of these guys. Playing that kind of golf. Getting into the majors. And playing. And for these guys (PGA Tour leadership) to go out there and do what they did, just off the cuff, as a board member, make a deal, nobody knows.
«The commissioner is supposed to be the guy who runs our tour. These board members make a deal or an alleged deal and without input from the players. It’s absolute chaos. I’m worried.»
Els said that Monahan and LIV «should have had a conversation from the beginning» to avoid a feud in the first place.
«I spent almost 30 years on tour… There are a lot of guys who did a lot for this tour. They helped the tour and they helped build the game. Are you kidding me? And then these bulls —.»
Monahan said in September that he did not expect anything positive to come of what was then a rivalry.
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The agreement will end all pending litigation related to the three golf circuits and will allow those players who left their respective circuits to reapply for membership after the 2023 season.
Els shot a 4-of-75 in the first round on Thursday. He won the 2002 and 2012 Open Championships.