Billionaires plan more efficient world rule via new international golf monopoly
Former President Donald Trump talks with Phil Mickelson during an LIV Golf event May 27 at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va. The twice impeached, indicted, and found-guilty sex offender, former President Trump praised both the billionaire golf deal and his pal, the murderous crown prince of Saudi Arabia. | Alex Brandon/AP

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla.—Call it the merger of one group of golf billionaires creating an almost worldwide monopoly with two more groups of golf millionaires and billionaires. And make it a bloodstained monopoly as one, of the three, LIV Golf, is financed by one of the world’s notoriously repressive monarchs, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

That’s how to describe the astounding display of corporate greed when three rival golf tours—the U.S.’s Professional Golf Association (PGA) men’s tour, Salman’s LIV, and DP World Golf, which runs European golf—announced their merger out of the blue on June 6.

But there’s a second aspect of corporate greed that went unmentioned in the merger announcement: CEOs and the rich finance the golf clubs that host golf tournaments. They hobnob with the golfers—fellow elitists—at “Pro-Am” matches beforehand. Those tourneys are often sites of corporate deal-making, in secret on golf courses. The public isn’t there and gets exploited as a result.

The members of the corporate ruling class are not happy in a world where whatever they say and do is scrutinized by everyone from world governments to stockholders and, worst of all, the worldwide working class and all of its allies. Now they have one organizational framework within which, whether it be in the U.S., Europe, or the Mideast, where they can meet, talk and plan in secret and from where they can send their secretly drawn up plans for world domination to their board rooms for implementation. They dream, of course, of the day that China and any remaining socialist country can come under their golf umbrella too.

Called a “partnership”

PGA President Jay Monahan called the three tours’ link-up “a partnership/creation of a new commercial entity.”  But everybody else covering it calls it a merger. Those three big tours are in the merger, and their tournaments have the biggest prizes and cover most of the globe, thus the monopoly. Other golf tours are out.

Monahan kept the negotiations secret even from his own members, many of whom bombarded him with skeptical challenges at a closed-door meeting in Toronto during the Canadian Open. Several demanded Monahan quit. Monahan said the new entity will be for-profit, while the PGA is non-profit.

And Monahan certainly didn’t bring up the bloodstained record of Prince Salman of Saudi Arabia, known by the initials MBS. It would have been inconvenient at best considering the way in which memories are still too fresh of how he had ordered the murder of a Washington Post journalist whose body his operatives chopped into little pieces in Turkey.

The crown prince also kidnaps and jails dissidents, eliminates what few freedoms Saudis have, finances and conducts a bloody Yemeni war—with U.S.-bought weapons—and murders critics. One of his most notorious crimes, of course, was ordering a hit team to kill and gruesomely saw up the body of Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent critic.

The PGA said Monahan will be CEO of the merged tours, and Salman’s man, Yasir Al-Rummayan, governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and the LIV tour director, will be board chairman.

Monahan said the merger would benefit the game of golf, an announcement met with, putting it politely, skepticism. There were a few exceptions who cheered: Millionaire golfers, notably Phil Mickelson, who benefit from MBS’s largesse, and rich capitalists and elitists who run golf’s hallowed courses such as Augusta National in Georgia and the Royal and Ancient in St. Andrews, Scotland, the birthplace of golf.

And, true to form, and all in capital letters in a tweet on his own feed, the U.S.’s most notorious golfer and golf course owner, and pal and business partner of MBS, Donald Trump.

Monahan’s partner in a TV interview, Al-Rummayan, let another capitalistic announcement slip out: The fund, which is really controlled and bankrolled by the Saudi government under the control of MBS, would invest billions in the merger and become a prime PGA sponsor.

LIV is allegedly losing money. All three tours have been tied up suing each other for two years or more. The lawsuits will be dropped, too. News reports said the court battles are draining the PGA’s coffers.

But the PGA also recently increased its prize money to compete with MBS’s LIV tour. MBS was often said to create LIV to “sportswash” his tyranny, using golf to deflect attention from repression.

Former Oval Office occupant Trump hailed “GREAT NEWS FROM LIVGOLF,” in his usual all caps, on his own twitter-like account, Truth Social. “A BIG, BEAUTIFUL, AND GLAMOROUS DEAL FOR THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF GOLF. CONGRATS TO ALL!!!”

Trump pointedly refused to even name the PGA. Its commissioner, Monahan, yanked PGA’s 2021 Championship tournament from Trump’s Bedminster, N.J., club after the Jan. 6, 2021, Trumpite invasion, insurrection, and coup d’état attempt at the U.S. Capitol.

Over at the White House, Biden administration National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby ducked. “I’ll let the Saudis answer,” Kirby told reporters when asked about the merger. Democratic President Joe Biden plays golf, less often than his predecessor, Trump.

Scorn pours in

Outside the sycophants, scorn poured in on the PGA-LIV-European tour merger, and about learning about it via Twitter and other social media, after the fact. Monahan hung out to dry PGA tour members like Tiger Woods, who had spurned the LIV tour’s gold, refusing to deal with MBS’s homicidal tyranny.

PGA golfer Johnson Wagner told the Golf Channel that when Monahan met the Canadian Open players the meeting was “contentious.” He added “Players were angry” and some demanded Monahan resign.

Those were mild criticisms, compared to the flood of tweeted comments to the Washington Post’s feed after the announcement, along with responses to ESPN, the sports cable channel. Or as one abashed PGA tour player told its interviewer: “No f—ing way.”

“It’s insanity,” another PGA player told ESPN. “The LIV tour was dead in the water. It wasn’t working. Now, you’re throwing them a life jacket? Is the moral of the story to just always take the money?”

“Oh, if the PGA thinks it has a lot to explain to its loyal players, wait until the tour’s sponsors chime in!” a tweeter named “Do Or Do Not” wrote to the Post.

“Players have nowhere else to go to make a living. Sponsors have plenty of places to spend their money where they don’t have to be associated with murderers from the Saudi government.

“Whatever money the PGA higher-ups just made in this deal will be more than offset by all the money that’s about to evacuate this burning building that used to be the PGA tour.”

Another, named “Deep State Operative-retired,” tweeted: “The PGA could well be making one of the worst marketing decisions since New Coke. There may be an audience for whatever weird new product they are thinking about. Maybe there are fans who won’t be all creeped out by the bone saws people,” referring to the MBS-ordered dismemberment of Khashoggi.

“They are planning to fix golf. Did golf need fixing?” Deep State added. “MusicMan” tweeted: “Trump thinks this is a great deal…That’s all I needed to know that this is one huge mistake.”

And “The Blind Life” tweeted: “This makes me sick to my stomach!! Capitalism and greed are king with the PGA. Forget about all who died in 9/11, the ones who still live through that horror,” a horror which Monahan pledged just last year to the survivors that he would never forget and thus would not deal with the LIV tour and MBS.

The 9/11 survivors, in a long statement, were understandably upset. They not only remember Monahan’s promise but also that most of the airplane hijackers were Saudi natives.

“In bed with a country whose atrocious human rights violations are truly barbaric. Throwing the players who had integrity and morals under your Saudi-funded bus,” Blind Life concluded.

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Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.

John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.