Jack Nicklaus has given his backing to the news that the PGA Tour, LIV Golf and the DP World Tour have announced a merger.
Earlier, it was revealed that the three organisations had come together to “unify the game of golf, on a global basis” by combining their golf-related commercial businesses and rights into a collectively owned, for-profit entity.
The 18-time Major winner, who hosted last week's designated event on the PGA Tour, The Memorial Tournament, told the Palm Beach Post: “The last three years have been difficult for the game and the players. I spoke with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan this morning. He seemed pleased with the arrangement that will once again bring together the best players in the world. I agree that this is good for the game of golf.
"I also appreciate the commissioner’s comments about continuing the tradition of the Tour and the mission to support important charitable causes. I am certainly interested in seeing the details. Jay indicated that this all will happen in 2024, so very soon the proof will be in the pudding. Whatever is best for the game of golf enjoys my full support.”
Before last week’s tournament at Muirfield Village, Nicklaus claimed he “doesn’t consider LIV players part of the game anymore.”
He then went further, saying that, even though he respects their choice to sign for the circiuit, the likes of Open champion Cameron Smith and Brooks Koepka, who won the PGA Championship, shouldn’t be allowed back on the PGA Tour in future. He continued: “No, I don’t. They’ve made a choice for what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. And that’s fine. I don’t have any issue with any of those guys."
Regardless, it appears some LIV Golf players may have a route back to the PGA Tour in 2024. That’s because the statement announcing the merger also said: “The three organizations will work cooperatively and in good faith to establish a fair and objective process for any players who desire to re-apply for membership with the PGA Tour or the DP World Tour following the completion of the 2023 season and for determining fair criteria and terms of re-admission, consistent with each Tour’s policies.”
In March, Nicklaus told Sir Nick Faldo's podcast LIV Golf was "trying to buy the game." Last year, he revealed he'd turned down a $100m+ offer to take on a role similar to Greg Norman's CEO position.