Skip to Content
Golf

PGA Tour Board Member Vows To Kill Any 9/11 Perpetrators Involved In LIV Golf Merger

5:49 PM EDT on June 8, 2023

Jimmy Dunne speaks during Golf Channel interview
Image via Golf Channel

With the PGA Tour announcing its merger with LIV Golf on Tuesday, an unofficial contest kicked off to determine who could provide the least convincing defense of the deal. Bryson DeChambeau entered a solid submission when he said on CNN that the Saudis "are trying to be better allies"; PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan hasn't stopped eating shit for his non-answer to a question about how he was happy to use 9/11 as a rhetorical cudgel until he struck a deal with the Saudi Public Investment Fund. But PGA Tour board member Jimmy Dunne has truly left the fairway.

If you're not familiar with Dunne's status within the sport, Golf Digest has a helpful explainer. He joined the PGA Tour's board in late 2022 to become the organization's "new power broker." Dunne plays a lot of golf and can connect people, and he's rich enough from his involvement in mergers and acquisitions to make him a bigwig who's called in to help with deals. Up until this week, he perceived LIV Golf as a clown show.

"I really wonder how many of those guys, the lifestyle that they were living was so horrible that their family needed them to do this," Dunne said to Sports Illustrated in June 2022. "Just say, 'I'm at a point in my career where I (want to) make five times as much money against much weaker competition and play less.' Just tell the truth. Don't cover it with a lot of crap."

Another reason Dunne might not like LIV and its backers would be because he worked at an office in the World Trade Center, and would've been there on 9/11 if he hadn't been playing in an amateur golf event that week. No, really:

At 9:03 a.m., a plane collided violently with the south tower. Dunne’s buddy, [Chris Quackenbush]; his mentor, Herman Sandler; his assistant, Debbie Paris, were in the office, among the 66 of Sandler O’Neill’s 171 employees who died on 9/11. When Dunne found out from a USGA official that planes were crashing into Manhattan skyscrapers, he was 50 miles north of lower Manhattan and had just finished playing his fourth hole.

Despite all of his ill feelings toward the existence of LIV Golf—are you ready for this?—Dunne was instrumental in the merger. He brokered meetings between Monahan and PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, served as an advisor, and backed the idea of a merger. He called player-director Rory McIlroy hours before the deal was announced to quickly run him through the details. He expressed a desire to know more about the PGA Tour's enemy in litigation.

“After the Masters we decided—we had won a bunch of cases—let’s find out what they’re all about,” Dunne said, via the Associated Press.

With all that background considered, Dunne still couldn't handle the inevitable 9/11 question that for weeks will be hounding anyone associated with the PGA Tour. Here he was on Golf Channel, with a lovely dog pillow in the background:

Below is a partial transcript (emphasis mine), but you can find more of Dunne's answer via James Colgan of Golf.com:

And let's be specific, OK, on 9/11, all right? Every day, the first thing I think about is that. Several times during the day, I think about it. And the last thing I think about at night is that. That has not changed since that day, and I'm not alone in that. I would guarantee that every one of those family members has that same condition. And it is just a reality of how unbelievably sad and awful that day was. So, I understand that. And I am quite certain—and I have had conversations with a lot of very knowledgeable people—that the people I'm dealing with had nothing to do with it. And if someone can find someone that unequivocally was involved with it, I'll kill them myself. We don't have to wait around. But the reality of it is, is that we need to come together as a people—even our country, we have too much divisiveness, and at some point in time, whether it's our view of the Japanese, our view of the Germans—there's a point in time where you have to say, "Let's try to get to know one another. Let's try to understand. Let's try to demonstrate by example."

This 60-something-year-old man in his home office is ready to end a Saudi's life if he's wrong about this deal. That's how you know it's on the level.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter