Imagine if the Mafia decided to start a golf tour, offering millions to cash-strapped PGA players who jumped ship–players like Westwood, Garcia, Fowler, Norman, and Mickelson. Well the Saudis, yes the same country which birthed 19 of the 9/11 hijackers, and who murdered Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, and who just recently “allowed” women to drive cars, have done just that, with “The Shark” Greg Norman as host and master of ceremonies. The shark, indeed. Saudi oil money could ultimately scuttle the PGA Tour, with their tournaments vying for TV coverage against PGA events, hence draining fans from a time-honored tour. Even the hallowed Nicklaus, though he responsibly turned down 100 million to host the Saudi tour, is still designing a big course there, just north of the capitol, for the government worth millions if not billions, following in the footsteps of his former MAGA “dear leader” and president (yes, Jack often gushed over how wonderful that one-term president was).
Eight Saudi Tour events are already scheduled for 2022 so the die is cast. The Saudis have tightened the noose around the world’s oil starved neck by refusing to increase supplies as the price of gas looks up towards 10 bucks a gallon. The Saudi Tour may be part of that strategy of extortion, again much like the Mafia would threaten and extort businesses back in their heyday.
Will the Saudi Tour succeed in derailing the PGA Tour? Without fail, money talks, especially in this greedy world. So I’m sure it will cut into the influence of the PGA Tour, a tour that Nicklaus and Palmer helped start in 1968 to increase the income of its members. And new players, up from the college ranks, will be drawn to the Saudis if only to make a more secure living playing golf for a living, which for most is a very precarious way to make a sustainable living with families to feed at home.
But as Ricky put it, competition is a healthy thing, even if the competitors are murderous, money grubbing, fraudulent, authoritarian, militant, misogynist, monarchists like the Saudis.
And what about Phil? Ah, yes, what about Phil? He’s dissed the Saudis. He’s dissed the PGA Tour. He’s declined to defend his historic PGA Championship victory. He reportedly dropped 40 million gambling. That’s right, 40 mil. Can you imagine? And he’s dropped out of sight, unavailable to the press, perhaps his family, and …well the IRS? His reputation, once golden among his fans, is shot full of holes. He is “taking a breather”, hopefully still, in vivo, still breathing. Of course, I wish Phil well. Tiger, at one point, was as low as Phil is now. But look at him now: as loved by the fans as ever. In America, forgiveness is also possible, which is what’s great about this country…or sad, as the case may be.