What Might Shocking PGA TOUR, LIV Golf Merge Mean For Betting?

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Written By Brett Gibbons | Last Updated
pga tour liv merge

Just two weeks ahead of golf’s third major of the season, the unimaginable has happened: the PGA TOUR and Public Investment Fund are merging. The PIF is the Saudi-government fund that backs LIV Golf. The DP World Tour will also be a part of this merger, which will be a new entity moving forward. The last two years featured a tense standoff between those who decided to remain with the PGA TOUR and those who left for LIV and took massive guaranteed contracts. The PGA TOUR announced the news on its site Tuesday morning.

It’s unclear whether or not the PGA TOUR and LIV Golf itself are actually merging, or if this is only business agreement with the PIF.

Jay Manahan On PGA TOUR – LIV Golf Merge

Since LIV poached several high-profile TOUR golfers – including Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Cameron Smith and Phil Mickelson – PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan has been vocal about his disapproval for the league. Monahan and others focused on ongoing human rights concerns and violations by the government of Saudi Arabia, whose Public Investment Fund (PIF) backs the LIV Golf league.

Monahan noted in the press release, “The new entity will work to ensure a cohesive schedule of events that will be exciting for fans, sponsors and all stakeholders.” Rewind to one year ago this week, when Monohan asked during the RBC Canadian Open broadcast whether any golfer had to apologize for being a member of the PGA TOUR, a public shot at those that left to join LIV Golf.

It’s still unclear whether those who left for LIV will be eligible to play in TOUR events or not. Currently, those golfers cannot participate in TOUR events, but the PGA TOUR press release states they will be able to re-apply for membership after the 2023 season. That also may mean future LIV golf seasons could look different or cease to exist outside a new, combined schedule.

“We are pleased to move forward, in step with LIV and PIF’s world-class investing experience,” Monahan states. “This will engender a new era in global golf, for the better.”

Golf World Reacts

It didn’t take long for the golf world to react to the news. TOUR players like Collin Morikowa to golf’s biggest voices like Scott Van Pelt gave their two cents on the merge:

As of Tuesday morning, some of the biggest TOUR supporters like Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth had not yet commented.

The sentiment from LIV golfers differed from that of TOUR players:

How PGA TOUR – LIV Golf Merge Affects Betting

Since its inception, legal U.S. sportsbooks lacked odds for LIV events in most states. PGA TOUR odds – and LGPA, DP World Tour, and other golf leagues – have been more available. This merger under the yet-to-be-named entity could expand betting options for LIV Golf at top U.S. sportsbooks.

The re-introduction of LIV’s top players could also mean more robust odds for typical PGA TOUR events due to increased strength of field.

Even in the two years since players joined LIV, sports betting grew to many more states including New York and Ohio. As legal sports betting grows alongside the popularity of the sport, the demand for a larger betting menus may also increase.

However, that possibility hinges on whether or not LIV golfers compete on the TOUR. Though Monahan suggested a path for them to return, it’s unclear it will happen, as many PGA TOUR tweeted they were blindsided by the news Tuesday.

Team Golf Betting

A new sports betting development with the PGA TOUR – LIV merge could be added markets for team golf betting. According to the release, “the PGA TOUR, DP World Tour and PIF will work together to best feature and grow team golf going forward.” LIV golf has already been employing teams of four in competition, alongside the individual scoring at each event.

Might the PGA TOUR incorporate this at its own events in the future? We’ll see.

At the very least, if LIV Golf betting becomes regulated stateside, team betting might become part of the wagering catalog for golf fans.

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