Augusta, Masters places the table for peace

Regardless of the agreement reached, Tiger Woods' approval will be crucial. With McIlroy's retirement to the background, players' voices on any matter concerning the PGA have become paramount

by Andrea Gussoni
Augusta, Masters places the table for peace
© Getty Images Sport - Patrick Smith / Staff

First it was December 31st, then April. The deadlines set by the PGA and LIV to finalize their agreement reached last summer are slowly fading away as the golf world impatiently awaits a peace that seems increasingly reasonable and necessary.

The conclusion of the Masters Tournament this Sunday, with Scottie Scheffler claiming his second green jacket, offered not only contrasting perspectives on this conflict but also some signs that negotiations have not derailed despite Strategic Sports Group's investment in the American circuit.

Progress, albeit slow, continues.

Masters, results

Regardless of the agreement reached, Tiger Woods' approval will be crucial. With McIlroy's retirement to the background, players' voices on any matter concerning the PGA have become paramount.

PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan's presence at Augusta was noticeable in recent days. Woods mentioned that his meeting a few weeks ago in the Bahamas with Yassir Al-Rumayyan, the influential figure in Arab sports expansion, president of the PIF (the Saudi public investment fund), owner of Newcastle, and, of course, the LIV, was "moving in the right direction." Overall, the general tone in the statements of the golfers was one of bridge-building, a 180-degree turn from the hostile discourse that prevailed in the early stages of the split.

Particularly noteworthy were the reflections of Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Tom Watson after the honorary tee-off. "At the Champions Dinner, which was magnificent, we were sharing stories about Seve and others, chatting and laughing, when I asked for the floor.

I said, 'I look around and see the wonderful experience we are all having. Isn't it great to be together again?' Then everyone fell silent, and Ray Floyd stood up. It was time to leave. I just hope everyone takes it as a sign that it's time to do something," recounted Tom Watson.

"The best possible outcome of the negotiations is that we see the best players playing together all the time. That's how I feel. I don't know how things are going. When I see Jay (Monahan), I ask him not to tell me because I don't want to have to lie to the press and the people who ask me," added Nicklaus.

The atmosphere around the 13 LIV members throughout the week, at least from the public's perspective, has been jovial, although Augusta doesn't permit the same level of fan interaction as other major tournaments. A significant moment was Jon Rahm's arrival at the 12th tee on Sunday, amidst a standing ovation from the patrons, many of whom were on their feet.

Greg Norman, CEO of the Saudi super league, whose son claimed he had to buy a ticket from scalpers because he was denied through normal channels, stated that hundreds of people approached him to congratulate him on his work in the rival circuit.

On the flip side, Rahm's comments on Sunday painted a different picture. The Spaniard mentioned experiencing moments of tension with former colleagues. "It was something I expected, and the opposite as well, but some haven't even looked me in the eye.

Those who are my friends remain so, and those who aren't, well, you know. I just needed to know who is who," he said, although in his pre-tournament press conference, he expressed the opposite sentiment. "What I've felt so far is that they treat me like a champion, not like someone who has gone to the LIV," he stated then. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, this will no longer be a topic of conversation.

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