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Padraig Harrington. Alamy Stock Photo
financial risk

PGA Tour 'could have been in financial turmoil' without LIV merger - Padraig Harrington

The Irish golfer said litigation between PGA and LIV ‘could have been catastrophic’.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON HAS said the merger between the PGA Tour and LIV golf is a “huge u-turn” and he believes concerns over the cost of litigation between the parties hastened the deal.  

Players have reacted with shock and a sense of betrayal at the proposed merger of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour’s commercial operations with those of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which bankrolls LIV Golf.

The merger brings to an end all litigation between the parties, as LIV and the PGA Tours had been embroiled in antitrust suits.

“Everybody was exceptionally surprised,” the Irish golfer said of the deal. He was speaking to Joe Duffy on RTÉ’s Liveline. “It came from nowhere”.

“It’s a huge backtrack, a huge U-turn by the PGA Tour. And the likely reason is they were forced into it. There’s a big lawsuit going on. They’re rumored to be losing half our TV revenues, the PGA tour . . . they could have been in financial turmoil, and they were forced into acting now or later two year’s time and they’ll be in a worse position,” Harrington said.

He added: “There’s not a single player on the PGA tour that in any way shape or form was looking for more money on this date. 

“Everybody who’s left behind is exceptionally happy with where they were. So it’s a complete shock to them. 

“I don’t think the PGA Tour, even though it might end up there’s more money in the game, I don’t think the PGA Tour were seeking that. They were worried about their own sustainability. Because they actually stretched themselves so much trying to compete with LIV.” 

Harrington said he thought the deal came about because two parties were suing each other and “neither wanted to get into that”. 

“Somebody stepped in and said, ‘right, hang on a second. We’re not gonna go to court. We’ve got to settle this.’ And these are the terms that we don’t fully know yet but these are the terms they came up with to avoid what could have been catastrophic for the PGA Tour.” 

Harrington repeated his words from earlier in the week, when saying that sports washing “unfortunately does work”.  

“The Saudis have bought Newcastle, nobody stopped watching the players . . . Everybody watched the World Cup, you know. 

“Sports washing, unfortunately, does work. Investing in teams like this does work. I can guarantee there’s somebody in Newcastle who thinks more positively right now about Saudi Arabia because they own the team. So it does work and that’s it and Saudi Arabia are free to invest in what they want.

“They’re free to do this. The fact is, they do have a lot of money. If they take an interest in something they can back it for a long time.”  

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