NEW YORK (WABC) -- The sudden agreement announced between two professional golf entities on Tuesday has upset and deeply offended 9/11 families.
The PGA Tour and LIV Golf announced they are putting aside their legal battles and are planning to form a partnership. A spokesperson said the deal would end all ongoing litigation between the two organizations.
LIV emerged just last year as a serious competitor to the PGA and lured away major stars including Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka.
News of the deal came as a surprise to many watchers of the lawsuits and Saudi Arabia's inroads into U.S. politics, sports and culture.
The organization is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia and soon after its emergence, families of victims of the 9/11 attacks denounced the league.
They pointed at Saudi Arabia's role in supporting the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Because of that connection, protesters have showed up at just about every LIV tournament on U.S. soil, including an event last summer at Trump National Golf Course in New Jersey.
Family members of 9/11 victims accused the Saudis of using sports in an effort to cover up everything from the assassination of journalism Jamal Khashoggi to a connection to the 9/11 hijackers.
Brett Eagleson's father was in the South Tower that day and protested at the golf course last year. He told Eyewitness News on Tuesday that he was furious about the partnership.
"I have spouses and children reaching out to me saying what happened, how could this be, this is devastating news to us, we thought for once and all we finally had an American company, an American organization, that had the courage and had the dignity and the integrity to stand with us," Eagleson said.
As for Former President Donald Trump, there will likely be additional LIV tournaments at his golf courses both in New Jersey and Florida.
9/11 Families United released the following statement Tuesday:
"PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan co-opted the 9/11 community last year in the PGA's unequivocal agreement that the Saudi LIV project was nothing more than sportswashing of Saudi Arabia's reputation. But now the PGA and Monahan appear to have become just more paid Saudi shills, taking billions of dollars to cleanse the Saudi reputation so that Americans and the world will forget how the Kingdom spent their billions of dollars before 9/11 to fund terrorism, spread their vitriolic hatred of Americans, and finance al Qaeda and the murder of our loved ones. Make no mistake - we will never forget," said 9/11 Families United Chair Terry Strada, whose husband Tom died in the World Trade Center's North Tower "Mr. Monahan talked last summer about knowing people who lost loved ones on 9/11, then wondered aloud on national television whether LIV Golfers ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour. They do now - as does he. PGA Tour leaders should be ashamed of their hypocrisy and greed. Our entire 9/11 community has been betrayed by Commissioner Monahan and the PGA as it appears their concern for our loved ones was merely window-dressing in their quest for money - it was never to honor the great game of golf."
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