Indeed. And the PGA has really been ham-handed and clumsy in how they've handled this. It makes them look very insecure about having a competitive league pop up.
I mean, that gasbag Brandel Chamblee said on the Golf Channel out loud that he thinks Mickelson and and Norman should be removed from the golf Hall of Fame...I mean, that's crazy talk and the zealotry by some of the hidebound golf purists is almost laughable, as is their hypocrisy about clutching their pearls about Saudi Arabia's human rights record.
I saw Chamblee's rant on Golf Central and yeah, he's quite full of manure. I thought the other gentleman (sorry I don't recall his name) put it more realistically - that the PGA will have to put their big stars under contract now and pay them what amount to appearance fees to show up at x amount of events per year. That's pretty much what LIV does. As an analogy, back when there was the AFL and NFL, a player couldn't say he's playing for the Buffalo Bills this week but will play for the Chicago Bears the week after. That's because he was under contract to the Bills, I think that's where golf may be headed
I see that being an option, but that changes the entire construct for the PGA too--that golfers are not sole independent contractors but would have more of an employer/employee relationship then. Either way, things will change because the status quo has changed. And man, the PGA is sure bungling it.
I am aware that a total reorganization of the PGATour maybe a result of all this Saudi nonsense, let's take a look at the history of pro golf to better understand the barriers the modern PGATour faces with such a reorganization.
Prior to 1969 (the incorporation of the PGATour), pro golf was under the purview of the PGA of America. This meant that anyone who played pro tournaments (i.e. be a PGA of America member) was required to be affiliated with a member golf club and perform some club duties while not playing a tournament. The "tour" schedule wasn't really centrally planned but rather an identification of local Opens and events that the PGA deemed official events, and your finishes in said events would earn points/official money that would then lead to status on the Ryder Cup team, entry into the PGA Championship, and player of the year. By 1969, the growth of golf primarily spearheaded by the worldwide appeal of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player demonstrated that the need for an independent organization who was solely in charge of managing a tour for the top professional golfers unaffiliated with a local golf club became necessary, thus the PGATour was born. The Tour was in charge of setting tournament entry standards, staffing rules officials, setting up a coherent and consistent schedule with a focus on easy travel week to week, and standardizing the quality of events. Prior to the PGATour, events were run by local charity organizations (think Rotary or Lions type clubs) such as the Thunderbirds (Phoenix Open) and the Dallas Salesmanship Club (Byron Nelson Open) who did their best to attract top professionals, but always did things their way. Once the PGATour became a thing, those local organizations became co-runners of the event, with Tour officials given a strong say in the course selection, setup, and administration of events. Tournaments created after the formation of the PGATour don't have such strong tie ins to local organizations, so the PGATour calls all of the shots. Most critically, the PGATour was in charge of negotiating media rights which help fund the large purses they play for today.
The PGATour was always set up as a 501c6 (?) non-profit, so all proceeds from an event went to local charity. Quite a lot of evidence the Tour hasn't acted in a non-profit manner, so maybe changing the non-profit status might be the first and easiest step, but everything else gets much complicated, especially with the scope of the existing media deals. CBS/NBC (Golf Channel) are the two biggest players in the media deal...how much are they willing to bend to adjust to a radically different PGATour that has already been partially weakened by loss of talent?