Former world No. 1 Ernie Els said Thursday that the PGA Tour board should step down over the decision to form an alliance with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and described the Saudi-backed breakaway circuit LIV Golf League as “circus golf.”
Els said the way the PGA Tour went about the partnership without player input was an “absolute shambles” and that PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan would not still be in the role if it were up to him.
“If this happened in my day, in my prime, there’s no way he is around. No way. And the board has to change,” the 53-year-old told reporters at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, where he shot a 75 in the first round of The Open.
“I’m sorry, it’s not right. Talk to us, tell us what you’re going to do, plan on negotiating. Don’t just go rogue as a member of the board and come back with a deal and think we’re all going to say yes.
“You’re affecting people’s lives. You’re affecting the professional game. It’s just so bad.”
Els said he was no fan of LIV’s team aspect or its 54-hole, no-cut format.
“This is circus golf. Team golf doesn’t work,” said Els, who won the British Open in 2002 and 2012. “It works maybe in a two-month, three-month happy season.
“Get these guys together, get teams together and play around the world. But then play real golf.
“That’s what this thing is all about. That’s what I prided myself on, like Tiger [Woods] and some of these guys, getting yourself into majors and grinding.”