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Jun 4, 2024 5:37 pm

Jack Nicklaus says reuniting men’s golf ‘above my pay grade’

jack nicklaus

Jack Nicklaus would like to see the best golfers in the world in the same place more than four times a year, but figuring out how is another matter.

Speaking on Tuesday ahead of the Memorial Tournament this week, where he is the tournament host, the 84-year-old golf legend was asked how critical he thinks it is to reunite men’s professional golf and said it’s “a question I don’t know how to answer.”

The Memorial is one of the PGA Tour’s signature events, and most of the top-ranked players in the world will play for a $20 million purse. But the signature event status and elevated prize pools only came about after LIV Golf enticed several elite players to leave the tour for lofty paychecks.

“You can look at it two ways,” Nicklaus said. “One is that we’ll have a very successful tournament here and a lot of PGA Tour tournaments will have very successful tournaments and have great fields and great players. I think the LIV tournaments have had — you know, have some good players and they have — and they compete at the major championships.

“… I don’t know whether that’s imperative that (reunification) happen. I think it would be better if they all played together more often. I do think that. But, you know, that’s above my pay grade, I think, to really answer that 100 percent because I don’t know all the ramifications of it.”

Negotiations between the PGA Tour and LIV’s financiers, the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF), are supposedly ongoing, though little headway has been made nearly a year to the day since they announced a shock merger. For now, stars from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf only share a stage at the four major championships.

Nicklaus recited an anecdote he also shared two months ago at the Masters, saying he spoke to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and asked whether or not the tour was doing all right — without filling him in on the specifics, because he didn’t want to lie to the press.

“And he said, ‘We’re doing fine.’ I said, ‘That’s all I need to know,’ ” Nicklaus said. “So as far as I know, the Tour’s doing fine and their problems are going to get worked out. How it is, I don’t know.”

When asked about the broader issues in professional golf, Nicklaus cracked that he was “not part of the problems.” He was happy with recent reports that the PGA Tour’s TV ratings were on their way up.

“I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to the day-to-day of the tour anymore,” Nicklaus said. “I’m 84 years old. … So I’m a few years removed and I don’t think that I’m in the middle of that. I’m trying to be in the middle of the Memorial Tournament and be involved in that. I think that there are a lot smarter people and a lot better people that are better versed on what’s going on than I as it relates to the problems of the game of golf.”

–Field Level Media

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