PGA of America CEO on Merger and Reasons for Rejected LIV Application

“I hope there's a deal. I think both sides are not only committed to trying to find a deal but really need a deal."

by Sead Dedovic
PGA of America CEO on Merger and Reasons for Rejected LIV Application
© Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Arrival of LIV Golf has sparked anger among many, especially golf organization leaders and Tours, who were not pleased with the emergence of such a project based on Saudi money. Two years later, the animosity is noticeable, but to a lesser extent than it was initially. 

LIV Golf is a Tour that aimed to change many things in the golf scene upon its arrival, introduce innovations, and lure popular golfers. As the leaders of this Tour emphasized, their aim was to bring golf fans back to the sport, considering the declining interest in golf among younger populations. Despite all the rhetoric, statements, and ideas, some still feel aversion to anything related to LIV Golf. It seems that one of those is PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh.

Waugh, from the very beginning of LIV Golf's arrival, highlighted that he was not happy with the approach of this Tour, considering this project questionable. However, just as there was a tendency for individuals to criticize LIV Golf, there is now a tendency for many to change their opinion about this Tour. Waugh also falls among such individuals, at least judging by his recent statements. 

The story of the merger between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf has been going on for a year now, but an agreement is still not in sight. Both sides strive to reach an agreement, hoping for brighter days, but obviously, there are some obstacles in the whole story.

During the press conference at the PGA Championship, Waugh addressed the merger between PIF and the PGA Tour, hoping for a deal to be reached. Waugh, as an experienced figure in the world of golf, believes that in an atmosphere where both Tours benefit from such a deal, there is a huge chance that an agreement will indeed be reached. He hopes for such an outcome.

“I hope there's a deal. I think both sides are not only committed to trying to find a deal but really need a deal. And in my history of deal making, when both sides kind of need something to happen, it generally does. I don't know the timing. I don't have any insider information that you all don't have. But I'm hopeful that there will be a deal over time."- Seth Waugh said, as quoted by Golf Digest.

Waugh continued by expressing his concern about the potential damage to both the tour and the game of golf due to the ongoing situation. He reiterated his hope that any harm caused would be short-term rather than permanent. Emphasizing the urgency of addressing the issue, he stressed that the current state of affairs is unhealthy and requires quick attention.

Although some expected things to be resolved much earlier, almost two years have passed since the debut of LIV Golf on the golf scene. Things are not improving at all.

PGA of America CEO stresses that this situation doesn't benefit anyone, aware that everything that has been built over the years has been damaged. The imperative should be to change things as soon as possible.

“I don’t think the game is big enough for two tours like that,” Waugh said. “And I think we’re diluting the game in the way that is not healthy. We’ve said that, really from the beginning.”

Seth Waugh
Seth Waugh© Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Tuesdays Children

The arrival of LIV Golf has also led to discussions about money. Although there has always been interest in golfers, their earnings, and money in tournaments, it seems that the focus has never been on money as much as with the arrival of LIV Golf. 

Waugh believes that the focus on money brings benefits to no one, but he is aware of the financial power of LIV Golf and its leaders. Waugh emphasizes that it is difficult to balance things and promote the progress of golf in an atmosphere where you have two such Tours.

Seth Waugh talks about LIV Golf application 

Waugh also addressed the fact that the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) did not accept LIV Golf's application for ranking points. There are many reasons for this, and the primary reason cited is the 54-hole system. 

He points out that such an issue could have been resolved, but there were fundamental factors preventing the OWGR from accepting the application, such as relegation and promotion.

Additionally, Waugh highlighted a fundamental conflict between team and individual play within LIV Golf's structure. This conflict was illustrated by a public incident last year, where a player openly discussed prioritizing team goals over individual performance, sparking concerns about fair competition dynamics.

However, they are open to a reapplication, believing that LIV Golf must change some things if they want approval.