Sports More LIV golfers destroy their reputations as they sports wash for MBS | Opinion
Column: Disruption now the norm until end of PGA Tour season
It's already been a good week for Jason Day and Rickie Fowler before they even hit a shot at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit. Both were outside the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings with only two tournaments left in the PGA Tour's regular season, leaving them in jeopardy of missing out on the postseason. They are exempt through at least next season, so this largely would be a matter of pride, particularly for Day. A former world No. 1, he has never been ineligible for the FedEx Cup playoffs. But then a memo arrived overnight involving the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series, one that didn't include phrases like “force for good” and “unique energy.
BEDMINSTER, N.J. — The traveling circus that is Saudi LIV Golf has arrived in the biggest of big tops, the one owned by The Former Guy, Donald Trump. He is supposed to show up Thursday to play in the pro-am, then lend his world-renowned reputation for credibility, honesty, class and dignity to try to make something out of nothing over three days of exhibition-style, no-cut, low-energy, mostly no-name golf.
LIV Golf Invitational Series: How to watch the tournament in Bedminster on live stream
Trump National Golf Club will host the third event on the LIV Golf schedule, with Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka headlining the participants.The Old Course at Trump National Golf Club will host the event.
LIV Golf and Trump, paired together, a match made in, well, somewhere. What could possibly go wrong?
Let’s ask Paul Casey, the 45-year-old, five-time European Ryder Cup veteran who walked into Wednesday’s press conference with a solid reputation as a glib guy who never met a question he didn’t like and left as Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman’s new favorite sports washer.
When LIV golfers meet the press, they should know by now what’s coming: questions about leaving their old jobs on the PGA Tour for new jobs taking millions from the Saudi government's Public Investment Fund, which is controlled by MBS, who sanctioned the 2018 murder and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, according to human rights organizations and U.S. intelligence agencies.
Trump says Saudi-funded tour creates 'gold rush' for players
BEDMINSTER, N.J. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump played another round at his home course Thursday, this one different from so many others. He was part of the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational pro-am, put on by a breakaway league he says is creating a “gold rush” for players. The third LIV Golf event, which starts Friday at Trump National Bedminster, added four new players to the 48-man field that illustrated how the disruption goes beyond the PGA Tour. Henrik Stenson of Sweden is among the newcomers, which led the European tour to strip him of the Ryder Cup captaincy for the 2023 matches in Italy.
They also have been asked about the fact that Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudis, all the more fitting this week since Ground Zero is just an hour’s drive from Trump National Golf Club, and 9/11 families have been relentless in reminding us, rightly so, of the connection.
So far, the Phil Mickelsons and Dustin Johnsons of the world have failed miserably to substantially answer any question and instead have fallen back on how they are working to grow the game of golf and make the world a better place for golfers or other important people.
In that vein, I thought Casey might have a thought or two about using the platform he has been given on the Saudi payroll to influence MBS and his cronies by speaking out to help Saudi women and the LGBTQ community.
“As you know, gay people are subject to capital punishment, and women’s rights obviously are way behind men’s rights. … Would you speak out right now on those issues?”
'Don't want to decay on television': Charles Barkley talks future after LIV flirtation
Charles Barley met with tour CEO Greg Norman to discuss broadcast role with LIV Golf and played in the pro-am before an LIV event on Thursday.“I want to thank Greg Norman and LIV for their interest in me,” Barkley told the New York Post. “I wish those guys great success and nothing but the best. But, in my best interest, and being fair to Turner — because Turner and basketball have given me every single thing in my life. It is best for me to move on and I’m staying with Turner for the rest of my TV career.
This is how Casey answered. He said he played golf with a 17-year-old girl in a pro-am at the Saudi Invitational earlier this year, and played with “another lady who’s a human rights lawyer.” Casey said the 17-year-old told him things have “radically changed for her and her family” since she took up golf in the last couple of years.
Ah, the magic of golf. Hit a few golf balls and centuries of oppression evaporate, at least for one young woman. MBS couldn’t have said it better himself.
And how about LGBTQ rights?
“It’s not a subject I know enough about to speak about,” Casey said.
Veteran Jason Kokrak, 37, was sitting next to Casey. “Yeah, I agree with Paul. I don’t know enough about the subject to speak on it, but I also got to play with that young girl — was she 15 or 17?”
That was the banter, verbatim, between two professional golfers, world travelers both, who have lived for a total of 82 years yet have absolutely no idea how to say anything even remotely meaningful about the plight of women and LGBTQ people in Saudi Arabia.
After the press conference, Casey was surrounded by a knot of reporters who had more questions for him. One came from NorthJersey.com, wondering about the 9/11 families’ criticism of LIV Golf.
“My heart goes out to all of those who suffered a loss and been impacted by 9/11,” Casey said. “I don’t have words to describe the pain and sadness behind that, I’ve gotta go do a photo shoot.”
Ah, priorities. How convenient that Casey’s are now aligned completely with MBS’s. As he left the sad thought of the 9/11 families in mid-sentence and went to get his picture taken, his once-good name and reputation exited with him.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
Rory McIlroy praises decision to deny restraining order to LIV Golf FedEx Cup hopefuls: 'Common sense prevailed' .
Rory McIlroy praises decision to deny restraining order to LIV Golf FedEx Cup hopefuls: 'Common sense prevailed'The restraining order would have allowed Gooch, Swafford, and Jones to compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs, which begin Thursday. According to Freeman, part of her decision was: "LIV contracts are based upon players' calculation of what they were leaving behind.