AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Report: Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, PGA Players Weren't Aware of LIV Merger

Paul Kasabian

Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and other PGA Tour players were not aware of the organization's plan to merge with LIV Golf before it was publicly announced Tuesday.

Todd Lewis of Golf Channel and NBC relayed the news and also noted how PGA Tour players felt about the manner.

The deal was so secretive that Woods, a 15-time major winner and arguably the biggest name in the sport's history, didn't know about it per ESPN's Mark Schlabach.

Two-time major winner Collin Morikawa, who is No. 18 on the Official World Golf Ranking, previously referenced finding out about the deal on Twitter earlier Tuesday.

The PGA Tour made the news official in a tweet four minutes earlier.

Other players clearly had no idea what was happening until the news went public.

The decision to merge marks a clear 180-degree turn for the PGA Tour. CBS Sports' Jim Nantz asked PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan about potential moral dilemmas for players leaving for LIV Golf, which is backed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

"It's not an issue for me, because I don't work for the Saudi Arabian government. But it probably is an issue for players that chose to go and take that money," Monahan said, per John Schwarb of Sports Illustrated. "I think you have to ask yourself the question, Jim, why? Why is this group spending so much money, billions of dollars, recruiting players and chasing a concept with no possibility of a return? ... How is this good for the game that we love?"

A statement from 9/11 Families United, an organization consisting of family members whose loved ones were murdered in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, condemned Monahan and the PGA Tour for its decision, per 9/11 Families United chair Terry Strada (h/t Max Schreiber of Golf Channel):

"PGA [Tour] Commissioner Jay Monahan co-opted the 9/11 community last year in the (PGA Tour's) unequivocal agreement that the Saudi LIV project was nothing more than sportswashing of Saudi Arabia's reputation. But now the PGA [Tour] and Monahan appear to have become just more paid Saudi shills, taking billions of dollars to cleanse the Saudi reputation so that Americans and the world will forget how the Kingdom spent their billions of dollars before 9/11 to fund terrorism, spread their vitriolic hatred of Americans, and finance al Qaeda and the murder of our loved ones. Make no mistake – we will never forget."

Numerous PGA Tour players carried the flag for the organization in the public fight against LIV Golf, which entered into courtrooms (the merger ends the litigation process between the two sides). Now those players have been blindsided by the latest news.

McIlroy was arguably the biggest PGA Tour proponent, to the point where fatigue discussing the matter appeared to settle in at the PGA Championship when he was asked about the future of golf.

Attention now turns toward professional golf's future. Current PGA Tour players are reportedly incensed, per a players-only meeting that occurred in Toronto on Tuesday prior to Thursday's RBC Canadian Open.

Tuesday's developments should make for an interesting week in Toronto before PGA Tour and LIV Golf players head to Los Angeles for the U.S. Open, which begins Thursday, June 15.


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