The Sum of All Fears

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We're still getting aftershocks from the seismic shift that has shaken the golf world to its core and there will be plenty of time to study the fallout drifting over every horizon. It's only been an hour and maybe we'll learn to breathe in this acrid air without a coughing fit or getting sick to our stomachs. But there's no doubt that the air stings and the shellshock is going to take some time to wear off.

The PGA Tour is merging with LIV Golf, the final and absolute armistice in a civil war that went global over the past two years, threatening and succeeding at times to suck all the oxygen out of the room. An announcement that doubled as a coward cherry on top of a coward sundae came on CNBC in the form of a scoop and pre-taped interview heavy on selling this is as a business deal without human interest and light on hard questions.

In a staggering act of spinelessness, Jay Monahan allowed himself to float in the direction in the heaviest briefcase, his previous principles be damned. He sent his top players out there as meat shields to defend the honor of the Tour while operating in a corner office to perfect his Judas impression. And to be clear, he may have made the only decision there was to make. Anyone with operating brain synapses could have predicted the deluge of criticism — both external and internal — he'd be peppered with once the dark agreement came to light. Some are suggesting that whatever would be have unearthed during litigation with LIV must have been worse than this, which is a harrowing thought. Everyone is pointing out that money rules everything around all of us.

Though it was rumored that some sort of accord was the most likely outcome here, few saw the shape of this merger coming or wanted to imagine that Monahan would trade his backbone for the Saudi Arabia Public Fund and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who are now inextricable from the entire professional game and will force a lot of people and players who had the rug pulled out from them into some difficult decisions.

It's no secret that myself and everyone at The Big Lead chose the PGA Tour over LIV so here's the opportunity to drink our salty tears. We feel like complete losers right now because we lost. Badly. We're a team of Karl Havocs, feeling like shit and not even wanting to be around anymore. We're not not even able to muster the energy to insist we're not owned until we turn into corncobs.

This all feels impossibly bleak. LIV didn't seem to bother creating a good product or building anything in order to win. This isn't the first canary in the coal mine leading to a Hell World where every single thing we once held near and dear is sportswashed beyond recognition but it landed with gutting reality. The worst thing in the world is to take morality out of the equation. But that is not what's most galling here, nor is the hypocrisy. It's the helplessness watching something so profoundly fucked up happen and knowing that, at the end of the day, the only bargaining power one personally holds is to deny themselves something they love out of principle.

Spoiler alert: I anticipate failing this test. When the RBC Canadian Open begins in two days, I'll probably be watching. It's the old Office Space thing where I feel like I shouldn't have to change just because they are the one who sucks and I am genuinely fearful of what Jordan Spieth withdrawals might do to my system.

Time is a magical elixir and crystal balls are clearer when one looks into the past so some of our worst fears may not come to pass. Right now, that's only a small solace. We're learning more by the second and social media sleuths are adding to a bursting manilla folder of absolute nonsense and abandoned stances that make the head spin.

At the same time it is impossible to overstate how significant this could be. It has the potential to, if anger doesn't subside or the markets change, ruin golf for a not insignificant amount of the public. We've been thrust a can of worms and simply cannot remark at how many goddamn worms keep spilling out and dealing with a worm-based emergency was not something we wanted to deal with today. Or tomorrow, really.

There's unmatched squirming going around because this is uncomfortable. We're admittedly freaking out over this merger without fully understanding, or even partially understanding, what this all means on the practical level. There's a players meeting with the commissioner later this afternoon that will be as spicy as anything shown on Succession. A revolt has been spoken into the ether.

Every indication is that the PGA Tour players are rightfully irate. Most golf fans in my life are just bummed. Some, of course, are ecstatic and are taking a warranted victory lap. A majority of media members are less than thrilled about the situation, both publicly and privately. All agree that they'd sure like to know more about what the hell is going on.

We're going to do the best we can to not start cracking each other's heads open and feasting on the goo inside but that doesn't mean that there's not real reason to fear for the future. Anyone who tells you things are going to be just fine are wishcasting because the event horizon is wide open here. We're going to see the way history bends and who ultimately has the power to bend it. That heavy pit you might be feeling in your gut deserves to be there.

It's a reverse Bane situation. Now is the time for fear.