The PGA Tour announced Tuesday that it will merge with LIV Golf, ending a legal battle with the Saudi-funded breakaway league that lasted for more than a year and divided the world of professional golf.
It didn’t take long for players from both tours to react.
Phil Mickelson was among the first stars to take a big payday and lighter schedule and defect to LIV. He has been one of the most outspoken advocates for the rebel tour, which has been criticized as a political effort by Saudi Arabia to bolster the country’s global image and distract from criticism over its human rights record.
The news came four days after Mickleson took a shot at world No. 3 Rory McIlroy, one of the highest profile and most outspoken critics of the Saudi-backed tour.
As worn out as Mclroy was after the Masters and his need for an off season, LIV would be perfect for him. Problem is I don’t think there’s a team that wants him on it because they’d have to deal with all his bs.— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) June 3, 2023
LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, a two-time Open champion, also celebrated the news Tuesday. His name, however, was reportedly not included on the press release announcing the merger. Any mention of LIV has been missing from his Twitter bio for several months.
One of PGA Tour’s young stars, 26-year-old Colin Morikawa, joked about the merger, which came a day after U.S. Open Qualifying, known as the “longest day in golf.”
And everyone thought yesterday was the longest day in golf— Collin Morikawa (@collin_morikawa) June 6, 2023
Fellow PGA golfer and two-time major winner Justin Thomas also had a laugh on Twitter about the sudden news.
Max Homa, currently ranked seventh on the PGA Tour, brushed off the idea that the merger would have a negative impact on his career.
Brooks Koepka, however, felt he and fellow LIV golfers had the last laugh over Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee, a former pro who has heavily criticized LIV Golf and its players over the league’s Saudi connections.
Welfare Check on Chamblee— Brooks Koepka (@BKoepka) June 6, 2023
Despite his defection to LIV, Koepka was eligible to play in the PGA Championship last month, which he won at Oak Hill Country Club in Pittsford, N.Y.