Tom Watson Questions PGA Tour’s Saudi Partnership Amid Financial Hardship

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Eight-time major champion Tom Watson has raised concerns about the PGA Tour’s new business partnership with Saudi backers of LIV Golf. In a letter addressed to Commissioner Jay Monahan and obtained by The Associated Press, Watson queries whether the deal was the only solution to the tour’s financial challenges. He also highlights the perceived moral implications and hypocrisy surrounding the collaboration. As discussions on the agreement intensify, questions loom over its potential consequences for the future of golf.

PGA Tour’s Financial Struggles and Saudi Partnership:

Tom Watson’s letter seeks answers regarding the PGA Tour’s decision to form a business alliance with Saudi Arabia’s national wealth fund and the European Tour, aimed at consolidating commercial operations. With financial hardship plaguing the tour, Watson inquires if this partnership was the sole resolution considered. His questions are compounded by concerns about the moral implications of associating with Saudi backers, adding a layer of hypocrisy to the situation.

Unanswered Questions and Lack of Transparency:

Despite the PGA Tour’s announcement of the partnership, key details remain undisclosed. Watson draws attention to the uncertainty surrounding the future of LIV Golf, a professional golf league backed by Saudi investors. Players such as Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau have expressed plans for a 2024 season, but the specifics of LIV Golf’s involvement remain unclear. The absence of comprehensive information has sparked further inquiries and calls for transparency.

Congressional Inquiries and Antitrust Concerns:

Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut has suggested the possibility of congressional hearings to shed light on the deal. As chair of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Blumenthal aims to gather facts about the agreement, its underlying motivations, and the governance structure of the new company. The senator also raises concerns about an autocratic foreign government exerting influence over an iconic American institution. The Justice Department’s antitrust division has also initiated an investigation into whether the agreement violates federal antitrust laws.

Impact on the PGA Tour and Golf:

The partnership with Saudi backers aims to resolve the PGA Tour’s financial challenges and consolidate various commercial entities. However, questions raised by Tom Watson and others reflect the unease within the golf community. The lack of clarity and potential moral ramifications of the partnership have cast a cloud of uncertainty over the future of the sport. The PGA Tour’s reputation and the loyalty of its players are at stake as they navigate this controversial collaboration.


The PGA Tour’s recent business partnership with Saudi backers of LIV Golf has drawn widespread scrutiny and raised numerous questions. Tom Watson’s letter to Commissioner Jay Monahan highlights concerns about the financial motives behind the deal and the moral implications of associating with Saudi investors. As congressional inquiries and antitrust investigations loom, the golf community anxiously awaits answers and clarity regarding the future of the sport. The outcome of these deliberations will undoubtedly shape the PGA Tour’s trajectory and its relationship with both players and fans.

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