Trump says Saudi-funded tour is creating ‘gold rush’ for players

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Former President Donald Trump participates in the pro-am round of the Bedminster Invitational LIV golf tournament in Bedminster, New Jersey on Thursday, July 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

PA

Former President Donald Trump played another round on his home course on Thursday, this one unlike so many others. He was part of the Saudi-funded pro-am LIV Golf Invitational, organized by a splinter league which he says is creating a “gold rush” for players.

The third LIV Golf event, which begins Friday at Trump National Bedminster, added four new players to the 48-man field who illustrate how the disruption goes beyond the PGA Tour.

Swede Henrik Stenson is among the newcomers, leading the European tour to strip him of the Ryder Cup captaincy for the 2023 matches in Italy.

Stenson was made aware at his press conference of a report in The Daily Telegraph, later equaled by Golf Digest, that Luke Donald would be captain for Europe.

“I don’t feel like I gave up,” Stenson said. “I’ve made every possible arrangement here to be able to fulfill my duties as captain, and I’ve had great help here from LIV to be able to do that. And yet the decision was made that I had to be removed. I’m obviously disappointed with the situation. But it is what it is, and yes, we are moving on now.

Adding Stenson – the other three were Paul Casey, Charles Howell III and Jason Kokrak – LIV Golf now has 12 former great champions on its roster, but only five in the top 50 of the world rankings.

“You really have the best players in the world, a lot of the best players, and soon you’ll probably have them all,” said Trump, who played in the pro-am with Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, along with his son. Eric.

“Remember this, if there is a merger (between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour), the people who didn’t show up will never get anything but a thank you from the people who did. benefited.”

There is no conversation at the PGA Tour about a possible merger. Commissioner Jay Monahan said last month that while the tour welcomes healthy competition: “Saudi Golf League LIV is not that. It’s an irrational threat, not caring about return on investment or true growth of the game.”

Trump felt slighted when a world championship golfer left his Trump National Doral course near Miami after 2016 when a replacement title sponsor could not be found.

Backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, LIV Golf has granted huge sums – various reports put the total signing fee at around $1 billion so far. The PGA Tour has suspended players who join for violating regulations that require a release to play overseas. It does not grant releases for tournaments held in North America.

The LIV Golf events prize money totals $25 million, with the winner receiving $4 million. Last place in the 54-hole no-cut events is guaranteed at $120,000.

“What they do for golf is so great, what they do for players is so great,” Trump said. “Their salaries are going to skyrocket. The PGA hasn’t been loved by a lot of players, as you know, for a long time. Now they have an alternative and no one would have ever known there was going to be a rush. to gold. like this.”

Norman said LIV Golf would support any player who chooses to challenge the suspension in court. This has yet to happen on the PGA Tour, although Ian Poulter and Branden Grace were among four players cleared to play at the Scottish Open when a UK judge issued a reprieve from the tour suspension European.

Poulter and Lee Westwood said they still had no clarity from the European tour on future tournaments or their Ryder Cup eligibility.

The European points system usually starts in September.

“I’m still eligible to play on the European tour. I don’t think I’ve been banned from any events,” Westwood said, adding that the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth is still on his schedule. no correspondence on this. This is an event, a qualifying event, for the European Ryder Cup team.

The European Tour’s flagship event will take place September 8-11 in south London, a week after a LIV Golf event outside of Boston and a week before the LIV event in suburban Chicago.

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