Major champion says LIV Golf, PGA Tour arrangement is still ‘chaos’ and will be difficult to repair

June 2, 2024

AUSTIN, Texas — As the unveiling of a framework agreement between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund approaches its first anniversary without any major subsequent announcements, one major champion said it’s going to be nearly impossible to get the Tour and PIF-sponsored LIV Golf back on the same page.

Mark Brooks, who won the 1996 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club among his seven PGA Tour victories, called the current golf landscape “chaos” during a recent interview, adding that repairing any rifts between the two sides will be difficult, especially as both sides have become accustomed to their current arrangements.

Brooks was part of a movement to pull players together back in the 1990s called The Tour Players Association, of which he was the treasurer. Although it wasn’t a full-blown union, the idea was to bring players together to collectively bargain.

Mark Brooks kisses the Wanamaker trophy as photographers capture the moment after he beat Kenny Perry in a one-hole playoff to win the PGA Championship Sunday, Aug. 11, 1996, at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.

He thinks such a group could have helped avoid the current issues.

“I’m surprised it took this long for some kind of splintering to happen,” Brooks said, in advance of this year’s PGA Championship.

But while he understands how the signature events and LIV Golf events, both of which do not have a cut, came to be, he’s concerned with how weak it’s left some PGA Tour events on the current calendar.

“Some of these events are, let’s just call it, top 70 shallow,” Brooks said. “Below that they’re heavy. They’re not going into, you know, past champions like me. I’m not showing up on the eligibility list, they’re not going that kind of deep. But probably 15 events this year will be very light in terms of the top 70 and you go, well, does that mean anything? Absolutely it means something. Are you kidding me?

“If I take 62 out of the top 70 out of a field, do I have a better shot of winning? You’re damn, right I do.”

Although some have insisted progress is being made behind the scenes in ongoing conversations between PIF and the PGA Tour, those arrangements are strictly financial.

Brooks said he doesn’t see an avenue for players to fully reintegrate into the PGA Tour, and he added that he thinks most aren’t interested in such a move.

Also, now that the new league has changed the game, he doesn’t see how it ever becomes one again.

“I do think it’s absolutely chaos. I think putting pieces back together, putting humpty dumpty back on the wall, it’s going to be pretty tough,” he said. “Guys don’t want to come back. They don’t have a desire to come back.”