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Saudi Arabian Gulf Tour: Hope for the sporting appeal – Sport

It took ten days before an answer came from the USA. In the week and a half that have passed since the first tournament of the Saudi Arabia-financed LIV Tour near London, the PGA Tour has had to take a few hits: One after the other, players said goodbye to the new Saudi sports washing tour, most recently Brooks Koepka, one of the most prominent faces in the sport, announced his move. Jay Monahan, the commissioner of the hitherto dominant American tour, must have had countless phone calls during this time, with concerned players – but above all with the financiers in the background who are working with him on a historic leap in prize money.

$160 million more, spread across some of the biggest tournaments of the year in the US and a new, international series with special prize money – this is the answer from the PGA Tour, which is apparently going to its financial limit. The message to the players is clear: If you want to make big money, you don’t have to play for Saudi Arabia. That would only be necessary if a lot of money is not enough.

Because even with the special package, it is clear that the Americans cannot keep up financially with the Saudis in the long run. “The PGA Tour can’t compete with a foreign monarchy that spends billions of dollars to buy golf,” said Monahan. In this respect, the new pots of money are more to be understood as additional motivation and as a sign that one is willing to go to the limit for the well-being of the top players.

The PGA Tour’s decision contradicts the idea of ​​promoting the sport on a broad basis

Phil Mickelson, who now plays on the LIV Tour, announced last year that he only wanted to use the Saudis as a bargaining chip to get more money in the US anyway – ironically he’s done it now but he’s off the PGA Tour banned for his transfer. The beneficiaries of the maneuver that Mickelson had devised are now those who stayed.

The PGA Tour’s decision to pump even more money into its top events contradicts the idea of ​​promoting the sport on a broad scale: First of all, those who already have a lot will get more. In a way, it is similar to Uefa’s decision, which in 2021 responded to the efforts of top European football clubs to found a Super League with more money for Champions League participants. At the same time, however, both organizations made the right decision on one thing: there are no guarantees. Access to the big pots of money is still based on sporting qualifications.

The integrity of the competition is preserved, only the best have a chance to earn (absurdly much) money – and everyone has the chance to belong to the circle of the best on a sporting path. That is the decisive difference to the concept of the Super League and the LIV Tour: There you only need an invitation, for which there is also an entrance fee on top.

This lack of competition is now also the factor on which the entire golfing world relies: The LIV Tour will show what happens when well-fed golfers play a few times a year for enormous sums at sportingly trivial invitation events. The hope is that the sporting appeal wins in the end.

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