Golf Merger – Money or Morality

In recent weeks, golf has been more about geopolitical tensions than putting a small white ball in a cup. As a golfer and high schooler, I’ve been trying to make sense of it.

Golf is the game of integrity. Golfers are trusted to referee their own ball, and its rulebook is written under the assumption that all players are honest. Last month, a college golfer at the University of Illinois shot the course record at US Open qualifying tournament. After realizing that he had marked his ball improperly, he immediately notified officials, disqualifying himself. Given the honesty demonstrated by players, you’d assume the commitment to trust would only be heightened for the game’s governing bodies.

This month, the PGA Tour announced a merger with the upstart LIV Golf League, which is funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. The proposed combined entity would effectively monopolize professional golf. Yet, Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour’s commissioner, had previously created a coalition of PGA players and human rights organizations, including 9/11 families, against LIV. The announcement of the merger is not just shocking but makes PGA’s prior stance hypocritical. It also deeply betrayed the trust of young golfers like me.

Golf is used by many parents as a tool to teach children character, making it much more than a game. With this merger, the virtues that many golfers had lived by were left in the dust for financial gain. 

I understand that this decision secures the financial future of golf and expands the reach of a game that has been struggling to attract youth. However, growing the game should not come at the cost of betraying the trust of the players, fans, and youth. Principles of truth and honesty should rank above skill, score, and money.

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