Golfers In The Dark: Uncertainty Continues To Surround PGA Tour-LIV Merger


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 12: Cameron Smith of Australia speaks to the media during a press … [+] conference prior to the 123rd U.S. Open Championship at The Los Angeles Country Club on June 12, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

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At last year’s U.S. Open, the watercooler conversation heading into the major revolved around the palpable tension between LIV defectors who were competing against their former PGA Tour colleagues for the first time. Now, a year later, the focus has shifted to the unexpected truce forged between the competing series, although details about the particulars of the agreement remain few and far between.

Reigning champion Matt Fitzpatrick, an analytically minded golfer who has jotted down notations on every shot he has hit since he was teenager, is just as in the dark about how the PGA Tour’s proposed merger with LIV Golf will play out.

“I just don’t know what’s going on. I don’t think anyone knows what’s going on. Are we signing with the PIF, are we not signing with the PIF? I have no idea,” Fitzpatrick said at yesterday’s press conference at L.A. Country Club, just blocks from Beverly Hills.

“It’s pretty clear that nobody knows what’s going on apart from about four people in the world,” Fitzpatrick added.

The Queens of the Stone Age’s classic “No One Knows,” might as well have been playing on repeat in the background at the press conference as the rock song’s refrain was continually echoed.

When grilled on the topic of compensation for the players who chose to stick with the PGA Tour and not sign to LIV, something that has been speculated, the No. 8 ranked golfer in the world gave the query a few contemplative beats before deciding: “yeah pass.”

Cameron Smith hitched his wagon to the LIV train shortly after winning the Open Championship last July. While the soft-spoken Australian golfer received a call from PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan—aka His Excellency—just ahead of the unification announcement going public, he is no more clued in to the particulars of the surprise arranged marriage.

“To be honest. I haven’t been told much at all. I’m just taking it as it goes along,” Smith explained, admitting that when he first heard the news, his initial reaction was that it must be ‘a joke.’

“And then H.E. gave me a call and kind of explained what was going on. He didn’t really explain too much. I think there’s still a lot of stuff to be worked out, and as time goes on, we’ll get to know more and more,” Smith said.

When asked if the criticism the PGA Tour garnered for their treatment of players who joined LIV that abruptly reversed course with the merger affirmed his decision to join the breakaway circuit, he responded:

“I think I’ve made the right decision anyway. I’m very happy with where I’m at. I obviously made that decision for a few different reasons. It’s too early to say, I think, with what’s going to go on here. Like I said, I know as much as everyone else, and it’s going to be interesting to see how the next few months, maybe even year, plays out.”

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