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PGA Tour and DP World Tour strengthen relationship in warning to Saudi-backed LIV golf rebels

PGA Tour and DP World Tour strengthen relationship by warning of Saudi-backed LIV golf rebels… as chief executive lashes out at defectors for ‘harming’ the game

  • The PGA Tour and DP World Tour have strengthened their ‘strategic alliance’
  • DP World Tour chief Keith Pelley lashes out at the players who have joined LIV golf
  • PGA Tour chief Jay Monahan reopened his checkbook with about $250 million for the DP Tour

The battle lines between the establishment and Saudi-backed LIV golf rebels became increasingly apparent on Tuesday as the PGA Tour and DP World Tour announced a significant strengthening of their “strategic alliance.”

The latter ended any speculation they had talked to LIV officials with a blistering attack on the Saudis by chief executive Keith Pelley.

“We hear them talk about growing the game, but I’m baffled at how that works,” Pelley said.

“In Formula 1, they work within the sport’s ecosystem, like in the Premier League and women’s golf, but not in men’s golf.

“What they do harms the game.”

The strengthening of the relationship between the PGA Tour and DP World Tour is a warning to the LIV rebels

The strengthening of the relationship between the PGA Tour and DP World Tour is a warning to the LIV rebels

Phil Mickelson is one of the high profile players to leave the PGA Tour to join the LIV series

Phil Mickelson is one of the high profile players to leave the PGA Tour to join the LIV series

It was Pelley who brought the Saudis into the sport with an event in Jeddah that was part of the DP schedule for three years from 2019.

Now the two sides have not spoken for twelve months, but Pelley left the door, if not completely open, at least ajar.

“If they changed course and worked within the current ecosystem, I’d be open to a conversation if it would help the game,” he said.

A joint press conference with the PGA Tour was scheduled to announce the “historic” pact as Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed were scheduled to speak at the second LIV event in Oregon.

PGA Tour CEO Jay Monahan reopened his checkbook with about $250 million for the DP Tour. The Americans have also increased their stake in DP Tour Productions to 40 percent.

DP World Tour chief Keith Pelley has slammed the LIV defectors in a blistering attack

DP World Tour chief Keith Pelley has slammed the LIV defectors in a blistering attack

Americans Pat Perez and Reed said Tuesday the PGA Tour could only blame itself for losing players to the Saudi-backed breakaway LIV Golf Invitational Series ahead of a tournament at Oregon’s Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.

Sitting next to four-time major winner Brooks Koepka, Perez and 2018 Masters winner Reed, the PGA Tour and its commissioner, Monahan, tore in, saying the blame for their departure lay at the feet of the golf organization.

“Monahan just shut it down from the start. I didn’t want to listen, didn’t want to attend a meeting,” said Perez, a 46-year-old, three-time PGA Tour winner.

“They didn’t listen to the players. Somehow during the tour they keep talking about “Oh yeah, we work for you, we work for the players.” But it’s the opposite. It seems we work for them. We have nothing to say about anything.’

Earlier this month, the PGA Tour suspended members who were members of LIV Golf, with Monahan saying they had decided to turn their backs on the tour.

Patrick Reed spoke Tuesday ahead of a tournament at Oregon's Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club

Patrick Reed spoke Tuesday ahead of a tournament at Oregon’s Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club

When asked if the tour could have done anything to keep them, Reed replied, “Listen to the players.”

“We have to be able to do what we want, we are independent contractors,” said Perez.

LIV Golf participants have faced a barrage of criticism from fans and fellow golfers about the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s government denies allegations of human rights abuses.

“This group has given me the opportunity to play golf and have a different schedule,” said Perez. “That’s my only concern.”

With Portland the second of eight events set to bring in a total of $255 million, LIV is promising its competitors more money with far fewer tournaments on the calendar.

Perez said that at his age, after decades of traveling with his family, the call from LIV was like “winning the lottery.”

“I’m a 30- to 33-week male every year I’ve done it,” he said. “And now I don’t have to do that anymore.”

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