Rory McIlroy 'Hung Out To Dry' By PGA Tour - Chubby Chandler

Former agent Chubby Chandler has his say on the PGA Tour/PIF merger, why he thinks it happened and what's next

Chubby Chandler hits a drive
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Chubby Chandler thinks Rory McIlroy has been "hung out to dry" by the PGA Tour and says "it's unbelievable" that Jay Monahan is going to keep his job as Commissioner after the shocking u-turn to merge with the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Chandler, the founder of International Sports Management and former agent to some of golf's biggest names, was speaking to Golf Monthly after the news that the PGA and DP World Tours had agreed a framework merger with the PIF. He believes the reason for the merge may have been due to the ongoing court cases, with litigation between the two parties now over, as well as a potential hole in the PGA Tour's future finances in trying to keep up with the Saudi riches.

The Englishman believes that LIV Golf will continue "in some guise" but it won't be Greg Norman running it.

"The fact that they managed to keep it secret from the people they kept it secret from is amazing to me," Chandler said.

"That Rory only got to know on the Tuesday morning four hours before it became public is quite staggering I think. And Norman didn’t know at all I don’t think, that shows where he’s going."

"I would think massively deflated and let down by the PGA Tour I would think," he said on how Rory McIlroy must be feeling now. "Because he’s been hung out to dry hasn’t he? No matter how much money they give him, which they’re bound to. I think they’re bound to pay some sort of a fee under some sort of a guise to the guys they persuaded not to join the LIV Tour. ‘Stick with us and we’ll do this, we’ll do that etc.’

"If you’d have asked me two weeks ago, I’d have said this is exactly what’s gonna happen but it’s gonna happen in another year. I thought it was going to happen, I thought they all had to come together but I think one of the things that has hustled it along is the fact that the court case was gonna discover so much on both sides, not just one side but both sides.

Yasir Al-Rumayyan speaking into a microphone

Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"I’m sure the PGA didn’t want their inner workings coming out, and I’m sure Yassir and the Saudis didn’t want theirs coming out. It was pertinent that Amanda Stavely was involved because I guess if everything come out with the Saudis, some of the Newcastle stuff comes out. So it was advantageous for everybody not to go to court wasn’t it. If they went to court, there were no winners."

The PGA Tour's main motivations for the merger may have been because they couldn't afford to continue fighting court cases and didn't want certain things coming out, Chandler thinks.

"They couldn’t afford it but they also, they’ll have stuff in there that they don’t want to come out," he said. 

"There’ll be workings in the PGA Tour stuff and there’ll be workings in the Saudi stuff that they just didn’t want to come out. And I think that hastened the whole thing to a quicker resolution. But I find it amazing, and I think Monahan is going to survive I think. But how I don’t know. It’s unbelievable that he’s actually gonna keep his job and run the thing."

And will LIV Golf continue? He believes it will, in some form at least. 

"I think LIV will carry on in some shape or form," Chandler said. "And it shouldn’t be that difficult. I mean, if you go back two years, it wouldn’t have been that difficult to incorporate LIV into everybody's’ tours.

"It could have been incorporated into the European Tour, the Asian Tour, the Australian Tour and the PGA Tour. PGA Tour would have had to have had eight weeks where they had two events, European Tour would have had to have had three weeks where they had two events and so on.

"It wasn’t that difficult to do it, they just didn’t want to talk to each other. If Monahan would have met them 15 months ago, I think it would have been very different. They thought that they would have enough money, but nobody’s got more money than the Saudis."

And will the PGA Tour lose sponsors now in the same way that LIV players lost theirs? Chandler isn't so sure as the 'product' of the PGA Tour is now set to improve as the LIV Golfers slowly get welcomed back in.

"I don’t know. I doubt it," he said on sponsors leaving. "I think the product is going to end up very strong and I doubt it. I think one of the problems that the PGA Tour have had is they’ve put all this extra money in, they think they thought they could put it in and then the year after all the sponsors could have picked the tab up.

"This year was a trial year to get $20m designated events. I think the PGA Tour thought that from next year on the sponsors would pick up the $25m purses and I think they’ve had a lot of resistance to that. Because why would you pay double for the same product?

"I don’t think that’s quite gone as they thought it had, and I think that’s another reason that they suddenly looked at quite a big hole in their finances in two or three years’ time."

Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x