Hall of Famer Tom Watson joins call in asking PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan for answers about LIV Golf deal

Hall of Famer and eight-time major championship winner Tom Watson wrote a letter to the PGA Tour on Monday asking for answers regarding the league’s new deal with LIV Golf and Saudi Arabia.

Watson, according to The Associated Press, sent a letter to Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and the Tour’s board Monday to ask whether the new partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund — something Monahan announced earlier this month before receiving widespread backlash — was the only way to solve the Tour’s financial hardship. The questions he posed, he said, were “compounded by the hypocrisy in disregarding the moral issue.”

“My loyalty to golf and this country live in the same place and have held equal and significant weight with me over my lifetime,” Watson wrote. “Please educate me and others in a way that allows loyalty to both, and in a way that makes it easy to look 9/11 families in the eye and ourselves in the mirror.”

Watson specifically mentioned the hypocrisy regarding Monahan’s relationship with groups like 9/11 Families United, which slammed the commissioner shortly after the merger was announced. Last year, when defending the Tour against LIV Golf, Monahan invoked the 9/11 terrorist attacks as a reason to stick with the Tour.

Tom Watson

Tom Watson wrote a letter to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan on Monday asking for answers regarding the controversial partnership with LIV Golf (Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

Many details of the new partnership between the Tour, the DP World Tour and LIV Golf are not yet known. Monahan called it a “framework agreement” when he first announced it ahead of the RBC Canadian Open, and both the Tour and LIV Golf have since filed motions to dismiss their litigation against each other in court. It’s unclear if LIV Golf will continue to exist after this season. Monahan is expected to be the CEO of the new company and PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan will be the chairman, though the Tour will keep a controlling voting interest in the new entity despite the PIF’s investments.

Monahan has stepped away from his day-to-day role with the Tour to recover from a medical situation.

A player advisory council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday before the Travelers Championship this week in Connecticut, though Monahan will not attend.

The new merger has prompted multiple investigations in recent days. A U.S. Senate committee is looking into the deal, and two other senators asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate it over antitrust concerns. The Justice Department later informed the Tour that it is reviewing the merger, too.

Watson, 73, won 39 times on the PGA Tour and won eight major championships. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1988. Watson’s letter came just a day after Wyndham Clark won the U.S. Open in Los Angeles, which marked his first major championship. Clark fended off Rory McIlroy, who was stopped just short of a major title yet again, by a single stroke.