LIV Golf, the men’s league funded by billions of dollars from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, has claimed one of the biggest wins in sports history as headliner Brooks Koepka triumphed in style at the PGA Championship. was on a Sunday evening.
But by Thursday morning, the LIV roadshow was once again infused with the political leanings that followed in its second year of disrupting professional golf. It was former President Donald J. Trump’s talkative, high-profile presence hosting the roadshow. Part of the league tournament this weekend at courses in northwest Washington.
Whether or not the LIV can, or even wants to, overtake Trump’s shadow will depend on how the league will be perceived in the years to come, especially in the US as it struggles to gain a meaningful foothold against the PGA Tour. can have a significant impact on shaping the
But for now, outside of golf, Trump has repeatedly been a fanatical supporter of Saudi Arabia’s flashy and flashy sporting entry, barring major tournament winners like Koepka and Phil Mickelson who have been on the circuit. Few people are so openly associated with LIV. At events, he often appears to be an avid emcee, a role that is both decidedly prominent and highly enigmatic — neither the Trump Organization nor the LIV are the former president’s companies at events. It hasn’t disclosed how much money it’s raising — a hidden sport as the league looks to expand.
President Trump appeared Thursday in a five-hour pro-am event alongside LIV’s Graham McDowell and Patrick Reed (and holding Rowling’s worth of money), saying, “They want to use my real estate, Because they are the best properties.” Press conferences on politics and infomercials on his estate across his 18 his halls along the Potomac River).
Indeed, Trump’s portfolio includes some exceptional courses, such as a Washington-area location that once hosted a senior PGA championship, and LIV executives have in the past named it one of America’s premier facilities. He said he was attracted to those courses because of the large number of them. I have no intention of running a circuit that aims to rival the PGA Tour. But President Trump’s continued and tenacious growth in the LIV’s trajectory has also led to persistent skepticism about the league’s motives and intentions, which some critics see as a good way to restore Saudi Arabia’s image. I see it.
Despite a record of human rights violations, the former president doesn’t care about the league’s patronage, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, or the up-and-coming status of Saudi professional golf. He still ignores opposition from the families of 9/11 victims because, as he said on Thursday, the LIV tournament is a “great economic development”, including the 2001 Some believe Saudi Arabia was involved in the attack. On Thursday, he openly praised the millions of dollars Saudi Arabia is pouring down on its players and, of course, assets like himself, even though he declared that hosting the tournament was “peanuts to me.” ing. This year, LIV will visit his three of his properties, up from his two in the inaugural season.
He remained steadfast in his loyalty despite Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith subpoenaing LIV-related records to the Trump Organization.
In an interview while walking the halls on Thursday, Trump said Smith’s aggressive approach was “retaliatory” because the Biden administration “wanted to do something to put a spotlight on what happened.” rice field. He said he didn’t know why his LIV ties prompted the special counsel’s scrutiny.
Trump’s love of LIV can be traced, at least in part, to his longstanding friction with the golf world.
In 2016, the PGA Tour ended its longstanding relationship with Trump’s course in Doral, Florida, near Miami, over what the then-commissioner described as “fundamentally a sponsorship issue.” . And in 2021, after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, the PGA, separate from the PGA Tour, plans to host its flagship men’s championship in 2022 at President Trump’s grounds in New Jersey. I gave up.
Mr. Trump hasn’t done so well abroad. The R&A, which hosts the British Open, said it would not return the tournament to Trump’s Turnberry, where LIV commissioner Greg Norman won one of two Opens.
But the LIV embraced Trump, and in return got the ex-president’s verdict and heavily covered events that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. He brings fame and power, both of which can be diluted by the division he enjoys.
“They have unlimited money and they like it,” he said Thursday, adding, “And it was a big publicity for Saudi Arabia.”
But every day President Trump appears at an LIV event might be better off as a day on which the LIV has spent a year striving to overcome, or at least articulate what it wants to be, the poignant questions that are inescapable. do not have. to go into the past.
It’s hard enough for the league not to make players question the morality of accepting millions of dollars in Saudi money, even on days when President Trump isn’t playing a round. there were.
“We have a contract to play golf,” said 2020 US Open winner Bryson DeChambeau, who tied for fourth at last weekend’s PGA Championship. “I think the most important thing is to provide the best entertainment possible, whatever platform you’re providing it with. When you can talk about ethics, it’s people’s perception. I totally agree with that.” No, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and was it worth it? Absolutely.”
But DeChambeau doesn’t have the megaphone and presence of someone who once was in the Oval Office. When Trump shows up at an LIV event, he’s relegated to a supporting role, even if he’s a Masters tournament or US Open winner.
Given their struggle to find quality venues, LIV executives have largely ignored the question of whether the former president is good for business or simply business essential. They seem convinced sports will overtake politics at some point, but President Trump suggested on Thursday that even if he returns to the White House, he won’t be easily dissuaded from dealing with the league. This may be wishful thinking because
However, LIV’s strategy does not include further threatening sponsorship deals and television rights, which have already proven difficult to obtain for this business, by the presence of one of the country’s most polarizing figures. It contains a bet that And Trump can turn prospects away as easily as he can entice them.
Trump himself has insisted that the LIV covet him at the event and that he will not stand in the way of the league’s declared goals of growing the sport and giving it the energy it needs.
“They wanted me to be here, so of course I said yes,” Trump said, noting that LIV’s contract with the property doesn’t require him to appear at events like pro-am. .
Perhaps it’s all true. But as long as it lasts, LIV will remain in the political thicket, no matter how well Koepka plays on the biggest stage of the game.