Rory McIlroy was set to address the media on Wednesday for the first time since the shock declaration of peace in golf’s civil war.
McIlroy and Tiger Woods had established themselves as the biggest supporters of the PGA Tour in its battle with LIV Golf, but both were kept in the dark about the stunning deal announced on Tuesday.
Fellow players reacted with surprise and a sense of betrayal at the news that the PGA Tour and DP World Tour were merging their commercial operations with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.
The announcement came after 12 months of unprecedented disruption in the men’s professional game following the launch of LIV, which held its first event from June 9-11 in 2022 in Hertfordshire.
Defending champion McIlroy was scheduled to give a press conference ahead of the RBC Canadian Open following the pre-tournament pro-am on Wednesday.
Former US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, one of the most high-profile recruits to LIV Golf, described the agreement as “the best thing that could ever happen for the game of golf.”
He told CNN: “The fans are going to get what they want. I want the fans, the players and the game of golf to win. In the end, the game of golf wins in this scenario.
“We are better together and not apart.”
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan accepted he will be labelled a hypocrite and admitted players who turned down millions to join LIV Golf could be compensated.
Players reacted with surprise and a sense of betrayal at the news after 12 months of unprecedented disruption in the men’s professional game following the launch of LIV, which held its first event from June 9-11 in 2022 in Hertfordshire.
Monahan faced calls to resign at a players’ meeting which he described as “intense and certainly heated”, with his previous comments that anyone who took LIV money would never play on the PGA Tour again cited and greeted with applause, according to Tour Advisory Council member Johnson Wagner.
“I recognise that people are going to call me a hypocrite,” Monahan said.
“Any time I’ve said anything I’ve said it with the information I had at that moment, and I said it based on someone that’s trying to compete for the PGA Tour and our players.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the DP World Tour on today's landmark agreement between DP World Tour, PGA TOUR and PIF. pic.twitter.com/ezV07DQKnQ
— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) June 6, 2023
“I accept those criticisms but circumstances do change and I think looking at the big picture got us to this point.
“It probably didn’t seem this way to them but as I looked to those players that have been loyal to the PGA Tour, I’m confident they made the right decision.
“They have helped re-architect the future of the PGA Tour, they have moved us to a more competitive model. We have significantly invested in our business in 2023, we’re going to do so in ’24.”
Asked if the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy would be compensated for turning down lucrative offers to remain with the PGA Tour, or whether those who took pay-outs to join LIV Golf would have to pay that money back, Monahan said: “I think those are all the serious conversations that we’re going to have.
“Ultimately everything needs to be considered. Ultimately what you’re talking about is an equalisation over time and I think that’s a fair and reasonable concept.”
The manager of one high-profile DP World Tour member told the PA news agency that players were aggrieved at the lack of communication and “extremely shocked” by the decision given the long suspensions and heavy fines handed out to rebel players.