By Mardeio Cannon | OBSERVER Columnist
For the fans of professional golf their world has been turned upside down a few months ago when one of golf’s biggest names, Phil Mickelson, announced that he was joining the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV tour. After the announcement, Mickelson came under a lot of criticism for associating with the Saudi regime, who has been accused of funding the 9/11 attack on America and one of the key members of the Royal family has been accused of murdering an American journalist.
Because of his move to the LIV tour, Mickelson was suspended from competing in the Major tournament schedule and other PGA Tour activities. However, because of the many complaints about the PGA Tour and the massive amount of money committed to the LIV tour, some of the biggest names on the PGA Tour such as Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Bryson Dechambeau and Lee Westwood and a few others have joined the LIV tour. This week, one of the few Black golfers on Tour, Harold Varner III also joined the LIV tour.
One of the key differences between the PGA Tour and the LIV tour is the fact that everyone that enters a LIV tour event is guaranteed a check. On the PGA Tour, if you don’t survive the cut, you get nothing.
Realizing that if they didn’t make some changes and that the LIV tour would slowly destroy the PGA Tour even without a national television contract, the PGA Tour made some major changes. One of the biggest changes that the PGA Tour made was to now offer all golfers that qualify for a PGA Tour card $500,000 annually to help with travel and other expenses on the tour that can cripple the finances of a struggling young pro.
Two of the biggest names in professional golf also came to the defense of the PGA Tour — Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. It was reported (not confirmed) that Woods turned down $700 million from the Saudis to join the LIV tour.
The Saudis also went after former NBA great and TNT star Charles Barkley to join the tour as a commentator. I am sure that Sir Charles thought long and hard about all that dough that was offered before turning down the offer.
In capitalist America, competition will determine whether you have the best product or service to win in the marketplace. The LIV tour is taking advantage of the mistakes that the PGA Tour was making and also trying to improve their public image. We all know that the Saudis have an unlimited amount of money that makes it hard to compete against.
However, if I were a golfer, I would find it hard to give my loyalty to a regime that helped plan the 911 terrorist attack that killed more than 3,000 innocent Americans.
I have learned in my life that following after the dollars isn’t always the best option.