The merger between the most important golf tournaments in the United States and the LEAF Championship, a tournament that was born a year ago thanks to billions and billions of dollars from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was a forced choice, due to the bad financial waters experienced by the Pga team. The political implications are important.
The Wall Street Journal revealed this a few days after the agreement that ended a months-long dispute that also involved former President Donald Trump, but also unleashed the anger of the families of 9/11 victims and human rights activists. organizations.
The agreement on June 6 was announced in such haste that the new company does not even have a name. For the time being it will be called simply “NewCo”, and it will be controlled by the PGA but funded by the inexhaustible resources of the Riyadh Government Public Investment Fund. Its head will be the one in charge of the fund, the influential Yasser Al-Rumayyan.
It is impossible to compete with those who “have unlimited money”
Two days after the announcement, at PGA headquarters, American Tour commissioner Jay Monahan gathered his followers and admitted: “We cannot compete with a foreign country that has unlimited money.” Over the past year, the MLS has spent about $50 million in legal fees against its Saudi opponent as well as $100 million in tournament reserves and prize money in an effort to compete with Riyadh.
“It was a model that was no longer viable,” Monahan said, emphasizing that he waited as long as possible and signed the agreement “when we were in the strongest position,” after weeks of secret negotiations that dislodged even players and insiders.
The merger has ramifications that go beyond sports and will allow Saudi Arabia to have greater influence in the West as it continues to attempt to establish itself on the international stage as a major player rather than just the world’s largest oil producer. A role that many, starting with the Biden administration, would not like Riyadh to assume.
Some time ago, Trump — who was brought down by the General Assembly after his supporters assaulted Congress — hosted a LIV tournament at the Bedminster Club, causing controversy and resentment among the families of 9/11 victims, survivors and people close to Jamal Khashoggi. The dissident journalist killed by Saudi agents in 2018.
The agreement, which the United Families Association attacked in a memorandum, “aims to clean up Saudi Arabia’s reputation in an attempt to make Americans and the world forget that Riyadh spent billions before September 11 to fund terrorism, finance al-Qaeda and kill our loved ones.
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