How players are reacting to surprise PGA Tour-Saudi merger

Here's a news conference that famed pro golfer held after the PGA Tour and LIV Golf decided to bury the hatchet.
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 10:59 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2023 at 12:22 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. - A day after a surprise announcement rocked the golf world, we’re learning more about players’ reaction to the PGA Tour’s plans to end its feud with LIV golf.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said Tuesday that the PGA Tour would be merging with the Saudi-backed interests behind LIV.

WATCH: See Rory McIlroy’s news conference on the merger above

As part of the deal, the sides immediately are dropping all lawsuits involving LIV Golf.

Wesley Bryan – who grew up in the Columbia, S.C., area and later lived in Augusta for a time – initially tweeted: “I feel betrayed, and will not be able to trust anyone within the corporate structure of the PGA Tour for a very long time.”


Bryan also said in a video, “Just got out of one of the most unbelievably ridiculous meetings. I’ve been to a lot of these player meetings, this was spicy. Real spicy.”

He said it was pretty animated.

“After Jay got done talking about what he was going to talk about, the announcement and apologizing for some of the hypocrisy, he opened it up for questions, and when he opened it up for questions, it was electric,’ Bryan said.

Dan Booth on Local News Live discussing the shocking announcement from the PGA Tour today.

“There were people who spoke up who I didn’t think in a million years would get that animated speaking up.”

Usually when Monahan gets done talking, there are one or two questions and everyone leaves, Bryan said.

But in this case, “50-plus people spoke up,” he said.

Wesley Bryan
Wesley Bryan

Rort McIlroy, a player who’s been vocal against LIV and who was at the meeting, “was in the dark,” Bryan said.

“There was a lot of questions that still need answers. There was a lot of yeah, the vibe was electric. I’m not going to say anything too bad, but the vibe was electric,” he said. “Y’all can imagine when someone flips on their word that quickly.”


LIV Golf was among the hottest topics at this year’s Masters Tournament, and the merger is sure to create a buzz in this golf town.

McIlroy “and a bunch of players” stuck around, and McIlroy was guiding and leading the conversation from his vantage point, Bryan said.

“He’s just a lot closer to the source so he was more insightful and answered more questions than Jay answered,” Bryan said.

“Jay did get a little bit flustered. He didn’t get speechless, but there was some visible frustration. Any man up there taking some of the torture he was taken would not have been able to stand too strong.”

Bryan expects players to unionize.

“There was mention of why now would we not unionize, I don’t know how that helps or hurts the situation,” he said.

“They asked Jay what his payout for this was going to be and Jay said he’s just going to continue to operate as normal. I call bullcrap on that. I think he’s going to have a vested interest and I think he’s going to be rewarded.″

Other reaction

  • Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Fred Ridley said: “As we have expressed previously, what makes golf special is its rich history and ability to bring people together,” he said in a statement.” We are encouraged by this announcement, which represents a positive development in bringing harmony to men’s professional golf. Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament are – and will remain – devoted to developing the game and celebrating its many virtues.”
  • Colin Morikawa took a lighthearted approach on Twitter, saying “I love finding out morning news on Twitter” and added “Everyone thought yesterday was the longest day in golf.”
  • Phil Mickelson kept his message short and sweet, saying, “Awesome day today.”
  • Crowd favorite Joel Dahmen said, “I’ve grown up being a fan of the 4 aces. Maybe one day I get to play for them on the PGA Tour.”