PGA Golf: Breaking Down the Stunning PGA-LIV Partnership Ahead of the US Open

Michael Savio pic
By:
Michael Savio
06/13/2023
News

Highlights

  • The PGA and LIV Golf Tours will be partnering, not merging, with each other
  • PGA commissioner Jay Monahan will oversee both leagues
  • The Saudi Public Investment Fund will be the financial backer of the new partnership

Shockwaves were sent through the world of professional golf when the PGA and LIV tours announced they would be partnering together, along with the DP World Tour. The two leagues had been bitter rivals, taking every chance they could to criticize each other. Now, a new partnership will bring both leagues under the same umbrella, but we still don’t know exactly what that means.

While the deal was officially announced by the PGA and LIV, it is not guaranteed to become official. The US Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has announced they will be opening an inquiry into the deal. According to letters sent to both leagues, there are strong concerns about the Saudi government’s role in the deal as well as the cause for the PGA’s drastic change in position.

Below we will share the latest news regarding what we know about the deal, what we are still waiting to learn, and how US sportsbooks have reacted with the US Open starting this week.

Let’s start by covering what we know about the deal.

What We Know About the Merger

While we don’t know the details from the deal, both sides have insisted this is partnership and not a merger. The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), which was behind the creation of LIV golf, will fund the new partnership while PGA commissioner Jay Monahan will oversee both leagues. This is assuming Monahan keeps his job amid the massive blowback from the deal, as well as the newly announce Senate inquiry. 

The deal also calls for Saudi PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan to be on the board of the new league. While there is some mystery around his exact role, he will represent the PIF and therefore play a large role in the new partnership.

Lastly, we know the deal will bring an end to the many lawsuits that were filed between the leagues. The cost of those legal battles was one of the main reasons Monahan provided when the deal was announced, and both sides are glad to see them end.

What We Are Waiting to Hear About the Merger

The biggest question is what these leagues will look like going forward. LIV Golf’s rules and gameplay are drastically different from that of the PGA, meaning you cannot compare players and results between them. We also don’t know how they’ll manage which players can go to which league, and how payouts will work. While LIV payouts are larger, the league was rejected by US fans who prefer the style of the PGA, meaning that balance could change. 

Another unknown is who will really be overseeing the leagues. While Monahan has been named as the commissioner, Al-Rumayyan is rumored to possibly be the top decision maker. Given the amount of money they have spent, it is hard to imagine they would simply hand over the reins to the PGA. 

Lastly, there is the question of how the players who remained loyal to the PGA will be compensated. The league pushed their players hard to forgo the enormous payday, even citing 9/11 as a reason to avoid working with the PIF. Those players understandably expressed anger after learning of deal, but they have been told they’ll be compensated in some way.

How Bookmakers Now View the US Open

With so little information available, PGA betting sites are approaching the 2023 US Open as they have in the past. According to FanDuel Sportsbook, top-ranked PGA player Scottie Scheffler is favored to win at +700.

There was one noticeable change involving Rory McIlroy. The PGA star was the most vocal supporter of the league and expressed his sense of betrayal at the news of the deal. He has been the subject of ridicule from LIV players and management, but bookmakers see that as motivation. FanDuel improved his odds to win the US Open to +1300, making him the fourth betting favorite.

While there hasn’t been much change for the US Open, you can expect bookmakers to adjust odds as details of the deal come out over the next few weeks. 

Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid. As an adult, Michael started picking games for a small sports betting site and has built it into a career. His experience allows him to provide tips and information to help other bettors improve their game. Michael cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams, the Arizona State Sun Devils (his alma mater), and the Ottawa Senators. He specializes in baseball betting but has extensive experience in football, basketball, and hockey. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children or hiking and enjoying the outdoors.