Tuesday October 3, 2023

U.S. Open Club President Embraces Spotlight From Bombshell Merger

  • Golfers are fielding questions about the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia at the U.S. Open.
  • Los Angeles Country Club president is not concerned headlines will take away from tournament.
Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
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The golf world is convening in Southern California this week amid plenty of unanswered questions — but Los Angeles Country Club president Gene Sykes isn’t worried that the controversial PGA Tour-LIV Golf merger will overshadow the U.S. Open.

“It’s maybe not a bad thing that golf is getting a lot of attention in the world,” Sykes told Front Office Sports.

Sykes — who also serves as chairman of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee — welcomes the attention and is confident the on-course action will outshine the pervasive storylines.

“When you come here, and you understand why all these important people with deep pocketbooks are interested in golf, and you see what a special experience golf is, you understand golf deserves it,” he added.

On Monday, defending U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick declined to address whether he thought he should be rewarded for not joining LIV, after PGA Tour policy board member Jimmy Dunne told ESPN that loyal golfers may receive equity in the new commercial entity with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

“I don’t think anyone knows what’s going on,” Fitzpatrick said. “Are we signing with the PIF? Are we not signing with the PIF? I have no idea.”

Cam Smith, who joined LIV shortly after winning the 2022 Open Championship at St. Andrews, echoed Fitzpatrick’s uncertainty. “There’s definitely a lot of curious players on both sides as to what the future’s going to look like,” he said.

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