Arizona golfers respond to PGA Tour merger with LIV Golf

Reaction to PGA Tour and Saudi-backed LIV Golf merging is pouring in around Phoenix as Scottsdale is home to many PGA players and as golf is an economic driver to Arizona.

It appears, for some, the issue is simply about where the money comes from. The Saudis.

For some, that's the final straw.

While PGA golfers gather to hear the latest on the merge, other Arizona golfers gathered just to hit a few shots on a hot Tuesday afternoon, some just hearing the news.

James Nwobu said we need to know more before judging the outcome.

"I think it's easy to point to morals and black and white. I think it's much more difficult when you're in the shoes of a decision maker, and in the context they're in, I don't think we have enough context," Nwobu said.


PGA Tour to merge with Saudis, ending LIV litigation

The agreement combines the Public Investment Fund's golf-related commercial businesses and rights — including LIV Golf — with those of the PGA and European tours. The new entity has not been named.

Zach Booth wants to know what this will mean for Arizona.

"Something like the Phoenix Open and see how that event changes. It's already a gigantic deal and so much money goes into putting on that event. Going forward, seeing how that event gets even bigger and bigger," he said.

Other Arizonans are focused squarely on Saudi funding due to the country's alleged ties to 9/11 terror attack.

"It's just sad. It's just truly sad that money overrides the evil that happened that day," Michael McAvoy said.

He lost two loved ones on September 11, 2001. His brother and his best friend.

"It's just sad that I had to grow up and two of the best people in my life were taken away from me tragically," he said. "They were murdered."

He believes the game of golf didn't need this.

"9/11. Never forget. That was the first thing that came into my mind this morning. Have we forgotten? Have we forgotten? Money overrides ‘never forget?’ Maybe it does. Not in my heart," McAvoy said.

A spokesperson with the WM Phoenix Open said they found out about the merger as well Tuesday morning.

George Thimsen, 2024 WM Phoenix Open Tournament Chairman, released a statement:

"While today's PGA TOUR announcement leaves us with unanswered questions, it will not alter our unwavering dedication to preparing for the highly anticipated 2024 WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. As hosts of ‘The People’s Open,’ The Thunderbirds sole focus is to put on a world-class sports and entertainment event for fans from across the world, while generating millions of dollars for local nonprofit organizations in our communities. That is what we have done for 88 years and look to continue doing in 2024 and beyond."

As far as what this new entity will be called, we don't know yet as nothing has been announced.