Ernie Els rips PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan for LIV Golf deal: ‘It’s absolute shambles’

Ernie Els did not hold back on Thursday afternoon at Royal Liverpool.

Els, after his opening-round 75 at the British Open on Thursday, ripped PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan for striking a deal with LIV Golf and Saudi Arabia.

“If this happened in my day, in my prime, there’s no way he’s around. No way,” Els said, . “And the board has to change. You do s**t like this, 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.”

regarding their “framework agreement” with the Tour, the DP World Tour and LIV Golf. Since then, into the proposed partnership — which still has a long way to go before anything is finalized. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which invested more than $2 billion trying to get LIV Golf running, reportedly plans to invest more than $1 billion into the new entity.

Monahan received plenty of criticism for striking a deal with LIV Golf and Saudi Arabia, who have been . Monahan even once invoked the 9/11 terrorist attacks when advocating for the Tour over LIV Golf.

The announcement caught just about everyone in the golf world by surprise, too. PGA Tour board members Ed Herlihy and Jimmy Dunne helped Monahan negotiate the deal in near-total secrecy.

Plenty of details still need to be figured out before the new entity can launch. Under the current framework agreement, Monahan would become CEO of the new entity and PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan would be chairman of the board.

Els said he knows Al-Rumayyan and other top Saudi Arabian officials from his time playing in the country and throughout the Middle East in his career. While he’s not doubting their sincerity when it comes to golf, but Els isn’t here for LIV Golf and its team system — which he described as “circus golf.”

“That’s not where I stand,” Els said. “Team golf doesn’t work. 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. Playing that type of golf. Getting yourself into majors. And grinding.

“And for [the PGA Tour leadership] to go out there and do what they did, just off the cuff, as a board member, do a deal, nobody knows. The commissioner is supposed to be the guy running our Tour. These board members make a deal or a so-called deal and with no input from the players. It’s absolute shambles. I’m worried.”

South Africa's Ernie Els

Ernie Els went off on Jay Monahan and the PGA Tour board after his opening round at the British Open on Thursday (Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images)

Els won 19 times on Tour in his career, including twice at the British Open. The 53-year-old has 42 international wins to his name, too, and he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011. He’s 4-over after Thursday at Royal Liverpool, nine shots back from the leaders.

“I spent almost 30 years on Tour, playing against Tiger … People don’t mention me, but I was there,” Els said. “He needed somebody to beat. There’s a lot of guys who did a lot for the Tour. They helped the Tour and helped build the game. Are you kidding me? And then this bulls**t.”

Els isn’t opposed to Saudi Arabia being involved in golf. He’s seen what the country has done elsewhere in the sports world, and he knows there’s not much to be done to stop it. The to work with, if not more.

But in his eyes, Al-Rumayyan is coming for full control golf. Monahan and the board are “going to be answering to him” no matter how the new venture is structured, and that’s a problem.

“Do we play ball with him? Does he come in at a different rate, maybe a smaller investment, see if they are the right partner? Not just come in and take over world golf. That’s just ridiculous,” Els said.

“[We] need to slow things down … I think they need to cut a deal. And Saudi comes in and invests in the Tour. They can bring a lot of money to the Tour. Hopefully all of that money flows down to people who got burned by this.”