5-at-10: More questions than answers on LIV-PGA merger, deGrom’s injury, NBA Game 3

FILE - Signage for LIV Golf is displayed during the pro-am round of the Bedminster Invitational LIV Golf tournament in Bedminster, NJ., Thursday, July 28, 2022. The most disruptive year in golf ended Tuesday, June 6, 2023, when the PGA Tour and European tour agreed to a merger with Saudi Arabia's golf interests, creating a commercial operation designed to unify professional golf around the world.(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

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So day 3 of our Westward journey was really cool. Did you know San Juan island has a huge fox population? Apparently they had trouble with jackrabbits back in the day and the solution was to bring in foxes. Now, well, Michael J. notwithstanding, the foxes are everywhere.

But like LL Cool J said of his comeback, don't call Tuesday a vacation. We likely wrote 10,000 words in three forms — the 5-at-10, the gambling email and this column on the monstrous news of the PGA-DP World-LIV merger — on Tuesday.

Let's do this.

Golf's huge day

My column on the enormous, sports-changing news that resulted from the single press release that announced the merger of the PGA Tour and LIV Golf (and the fact that they let the DP come, too) is above.

It detailed my thoughts on the few winners and the huge number of losers in this mess. But almost 24 hours from the news that changed the face of golf — and maybe history — there are still more questions than answers.

Let's try to ask and answer (if possible) a few of them.

Is this deal in the books? For all the reaction (and overreaction) in some places, not entirely. The release said the framework is in place, but the final agreement must be approved by the five-member players council composed of PGA Tour card members. Of that group is some fellow named Rory McIlroy, who may have a keen interest in the financial implications of the players who stayed on Tour and the ones who took tens of or hundreds of millions of dollars in seed money to establish LIV in the first place.

What will the merger look like? See this one may be as an important piece as any not being discussed because of the emotion, outrage, secrecy and betrayal generated by Monahan's massive moves behind closed doors. Could this be three tours operating in similar schedules but the newly formed "designated" PGA Tour events with $20 million purses are the top players from all three? Could it be one unified Tour with a couple of lesser tours operating in conjunction? (And if that's the case, the rank and file PGA player just got hit in the shins with a 4-iron again.) Will this be, for a lack of a better term, a bookkeeping matter that has three various tours but unifies the points structure and the qualifying terms for majorss and the biggest tournaments around the world?

Why did the PGA Tour do this and why now as it appeared LIV was struggling to gain traction? This one may be the biggest question out there. LIV Golf was drawing as many viewers as "COPS" reruns on the CW. And those were the good days. The looming effects of an expensive and potentially embarrassingly public lawsuit certainly could have played a factor. So could have the theory that the DP was losing its fight with the LIV, which would have given LIV a bigger global stage. In the end though, the simple truth is that when it comes to business, everyone — including the PGA Tour — has a price, and we all know Saudi oil money can meet any price, anywhere on just about anything.

What does this mean for women's golf, because the LPGA — the biggest female golf league on the planet — is under the PGA umbrella and for the atrocities the extremists from Saudi Arabia have committed, there are very real tenets and beliefs in everyday society in that region and religion that women are a lesser sex?

How much money did Jay Monahan collect in this deal? Monahan is easily the biggest loser in terms of personal reputation here, right? But what will be his reward from those "scary mother(bleepers)" for completely sportswashing the Saudi leadership in terms of golf, either now or in the future?

How will the golf fans react? Will this increase the TV numbers? Will unifying all the stars make golf a better TV product? You have to think so, but will that improved product have the drawing power to bring back the countless number of anti-LIV supporters who feel betrayed by the PGA Tour's kowtowing?

Speaking of TV, that could be a whole column of questions right there. Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee has to resign, right? He can't possibly keep doing a job calling a sport without a shred of credibility right? Here is an interview I found with him after the announcement.

That said, this was a social media post Chamblee made May 31 of this year: "As I have said many times, LIV Golf is not so much a sports entity as it is MBS/Saudi Arabia trying to hide their atrocities and launder its reputation by buying sports stars. Any yielding to or agreement with them is a deal with a murderous dictator." That was not at the height of the fight that Monahan referenced when he said his hypocritical words were stated with the knowledge at the moment. This was last flipping Tuesday, one week before the merger, and now that murderous dictator is the chief financial backer of professional golf on planet Earth, and in large part has direct say in the operations of the Golf Channel. Your move, Brandel.

Also speaking of TV, who gets dibs on what TV coverage happens when/if the merger is approved? And you have to think the LIV folks who are fronting a large part of the capital to make this happen, will have a say and a feeling of loyalty to the C-list network that provided LIV a platform in the U.S. If the CW lands the Masters, does Jim Nantz jump?

Which social media posts were the best? A sneaky winner Tuesday was Elon Musk, because Twitter must have had three times its normal usage, and golf Twitter did not disappoint. The memes and gifs were everywhere, and a lot of them were outstanding. And some were amazingly pointed. Saw one — and I'm paraphrasing here because I couldn't find it this morning — that offered something along the lines of "I know how the golf split will go. The PGA Tour will handle holes 1-8 and 12-18. The Saudis will handle 9-11." Wowser.

For all the talk we heard about "legacy" in the brief but bitter two-year battle for golf control, what will be the lasting legacy of Phil Mickelson? And in truth, all things considered, is there a single person more qualified in all regards to be the next commissioner of whatever this professional golf future will look like and entail that Mickelson? (And in terms of Mickelson, what will the companies that dropped him as a nine-figure sponsor do — or what will the major sponsors that bankroll the PGA Tour when the 9/11 families are picketing outside their corporate headquarters do — now that all of golf is in bed with those scary mothers?)

What a day.

Pricey investment

The Texas Rangers are better than you know.

They are better than most anyone expected.

They made some monster free agent signings over the last couple of years, including signing oft-injured, soon-to-be-35-year-old right-hander Jacob deGrom to a five-year, $185 million deal.

Well, deGrom shredded his elbow and it was announced Tuesday — in a monstrous sports news vacuum mind you — that deGrom will need Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of this year and could miss all of next year.

Wow, that's pricey.

Visor tip to @Super70sSports on Twitter for this breakdown, which begs a pretty important question: "Jacob DeGrom has thrown 254 innings this whole decade. Fergie Jenkins called that 'August's almost over.' Jacob DeGrom's most IP in a season this decade is 92 innings. Bob Gibson called that 'Ten starts.' Jacob DeGrom has 4 CG in his career. Otherwise he might've gotten hurt."

It's fair to wonder if we're babying starting pitchers arms too much at this point, you know?

Game 3

Big picture the TV numbers have been pretty solid for the NBA Finals.

In what was perceived — at least by me — as a pretty lackluster national matchup, Denver-Miami Game 2 was almost dead even with the star-studded Game 2 matchup last year between the Celtics and Warriors, according to SportsMediaWatch.com.

That's the good news. Maybe the reason is because we are getting a first-hand look at which is more important in professional basketball, having the best player on the planet or the best coach?

We will continue that experiment tonight.

(And if you think I am picking against the Heat at home, you're nuts.)

This and that

— Speaking of picks, well, in a back-and-forth bad beat/fortunate win night in baseball, maybe a push was the appropriate outcome. We had Dodgers minus-1.5 over the Reds, and the Dodgers blew an 8-3 lead after four and an 8-6 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth. Ouch-standing. We also had the Braves over 5.5 runs, and needed an overturned double-play in the bottom of the eighth to get to 6. So there's that.

— Braves played. Braves won. Is Marcel Ozuna behind Ronald Acuña as most dependable Braves hitters at this current point and time?

— You know the rules. Here's Hargis with the latest on Boo Carter, the former CCS star running back who transferred to Bradley Central.

— Another kind of big deal in the sports vacuum golf created Tuesday was that Arizona and Colorado reportedly have accepted invites to join the Big 12. Last Pac-12 team left out there, turn out the lights OK?

Today's questions

Which way Wednesday starts this way:

Which question listed above is the most interesting and important to you?

Which figure is the biggest winner from the merger? Which is the biggest loser not named Jay Monahan?

As for today, June 7, let's review.

Prince would have been 65 today. Man we lost him too soon.

Rushmore of "prince" and be creative.