While I appreciate Sam Farmer’s reporting, I respectfully disagree when he writes: “Professional golf’s brief but intense battle is over.” If anything the PGA has only switched sides in this battle and is now in conflict with American values. The PGA has entered into a partnership that is profoundly un-American. The Saudis are brutally anti-democracy and are anti-human rights, particularly when it comes to women, LGBTQ+ and minorities.
The list could go on and on. It’s true the U.S. has a strategic interest in cooperating and partnering with Saudi Arabia but that is strictly about national security interests. The PGA capitulation of American values, at this cultural level, is indefensible. The PGA should be ashamed of itself and should immediately abandon this despicable partnership.
Much has been made of Saudi “sportswashing.” The PGA and LIV are now using the dry cleaners.
Apart from the shock of the sudden merger of golf’s two entities, maybe we should just be saying, “Thank you.” Maybe once and for all we can all just admit and accept that in sports all that matters is the cash. Everyone can feign moral indignation about the Saudi human rights history, but we all know people will still tune in to their favorite sport. The Saudis will make some donations and hold the Khashoggi Memorial and everyone will forget the inconvenient moral issues.
I get it. Pro golf is a commercial enterprise and everyone wants to make money. But at what cost? If the deal included the LPGA, would players have to wear hijabs now and floor-length skirts? Would they be allowed to drive to their events?
The U.S. Open is coming to L.A. I was planning to go — no longer, and no more weekend watching. I respected the Tiger/Rory led refusal to sell their values, which the PGA has now done. So how does a player and husband explain to his wife that his employer sees her as a second-class citizen, who is not allowed to speak freely, that abuses human rights, but it’s OK because ... look at the money. A sad day for golf and integrity.
Much has been written about the merger between the PGA and the Saudi LIV Golf. What hasn’t been discussed is what will golf tournaments look like in the future. Will there be three rounds or four? Will the PGA dress code be observed? Will players be part of teams like LIV? Will the number of tournaments played in the United States be reduced? Let’s get some answers.
As a longtime golfer and fan of pro golf, I’m through with the PGA … will not be watching or attending any PGA events, and I don’t think I’m the only one.