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A year ago, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan used two words to describe the rogue LIV Golf League.

"It's an irrational threat," he said. "One not concerned with the return on investment or true growth of the game."

On Tuesday, the PGA Tour had another word for the Saudi-Arabia backed business.


In a stunning act of hypocrisy unmatched even in the mercenary world of professional sports, the PGA Tour has joined forces with its moral enemies in announcing a unification with the same LIV Golf League whose presence had been constantly condemned by every PGA Tour member with a soapbox and a sermon.

A year ago, Monahan said LIV defectors should examine their moral compass.

"It probably is an issue for players that chose to go and take that money … and I think you'd have to be living under a rock to not know that there are significant implications," Monahan said.

On Tuesday, he crawled under that same rock, announcing that not only would Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund buy into the merger, but would also become a premier tour sponsor.

Yeah, basically, Saudi Arabia now owns golf.

The next time you spend a Sunday afternoon curled up on the couch watching the dramatic end of a PGA Tour event, understand it has been bought by a country with no free speech, no religious freedom and a history of discriminating against women.

The next time you watch Jon Rahm or Scottie Sheffler being interviewed after a round, understand that their paycheck is partially generated by a country that murdered Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"This is a historic day for the game we all know and love," said Monahan in a statement.

More like knew and loved.

The sudden change in the spineless PGA Tour's position caught its own players by surprise, with several taking to social media to share their disbelief.

"I love finding out morning news on Twitter," tweeted Collin Morikawa.

The shock is real. The questions are obvious.

The LIV Golf League was once ripped for allowing the Saudis to use their billions to "sportwash" their history of human rights violations.

But now, the PGA Tour is shamelessly grabbing money from that same sewer?

"The game of golf is better for what we've done here today," said the sellout Monahan to CNBC.

The LIV Golf League's most famous member, Phil Mickelson, was once ripped by his colleagues for being an opportunist who grabbed at the Saudi's guaranteed money with no concern for their immoral history.

But now, Mickelson is the game's biggest winner?

"Awesome day today," he tweeted.

Sad day. Ugly day. This merger looks like a drive into the woods. It feels like a missed two-foot putt. It's unsightly and unexpected and just so … unnecessary.

The PGA Tour didn't need to do this. The PGA Tour had LIV on the ropes. When is the last time you watched an LIV event? Have you ever even seen an LIV event?

Few were watching the rogue tour, even fewer were regularly following it, there was no buzz, scant coverage and almost zero interest.

The LIV had dwindling sponsors, dying support and there was a good chance its members would have soon been lining up for a return to the PGA Tour.

Then a couple of weeks ago, one of the LIV golfers, Brooks Koepka, won the PGA Championship, four other LIV players were in the top 20, 17 LIV players were in the event and the Tour got scared.

It worried it soon wouldn't have the best golfers. It worried that more would follow Koepka and the money. It panicked and grabbed for the same cash that it had once treated as dirty.

There are those who will applaud this merger because golf fans don't care about politics, they just want to see the world's best golfers, and this move will allow that to happen again.

But here's the thing — if the PGA Tour had just waited, it could have enjoyed the influx of returning stars, but without the Saudi stain.

A year ago, Monahan said, "When someone attempts to buy the sport … I doubt that's the vision any of us have for the game."

On Tuesday, he just allowed the Saudis to purchase the sport.

A year ago, commenting on 9/11 families expressing their outrage against LIV golfers for betraying the United States, Monahan told CBS, "As it relates to the families of 9/11 … I would ask any player that has left … have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?"

On Tuesday, it was Monahan and the PGA who Tour who owed the sports world an apology.

Sorriest shank ever.

Bill Plaschke is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times.