A Primer on the Saudi-Backed LIV Golf League, Together with the Risk to the PGA Tour and the Phil Mickelson and Greg Norman Controversy

Home » A Primer on the Saudi-Backed LIV Golf League, Together with the Risk to the PGA Tour and the Phil Mickelson and Greg Norman Controversy
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THIS IS FOR US, you and me, as I made a decision to write down this piece to doc the fundamentals on this evolving golf story.

What is that this new Saudi-backed golf league?

Typically known as the Tremendous Golf League and often known as LIV Golf, it is basically a rival tour to the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour (European Tour).

How is it financed?

LIV Golf is backed by the Public Funding Fund, which is Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

How is Greg Norman concerned?

Greg Norman is the CEO of  LIV Golf. He was named CEO in October 2021.

How is Phil Mickelson concerned?

PGA Tour star and Corridor of Famer Phil Mickelson has been an lively and vocal proponent of LIV Golf. In late February a few of Mickelson’s feedback stirred controversy (see beneath). He has taken a break from enjoying event golf, together with the Masters and now the PGA Championship, which he received in 2021. He’s one among three PGA champions within the final 75 years to not defend his title. Mickelson has additionally stayed out of the general public eye.

How will the brand new league work?

The league plans an eight-event schedule known as the LIV Golf Invitational Collection starting in June. The no-cut 54-hole tournaments are to be performed in England, the USA, Saudi Arabia and Thailand. The fields might be 48 gamers and embody a crew and particular person part. Whole prize cash for the collection is in extra of $250 million.

Why is the PGA Tour threatened?

The PGA Tour would not wish to lose any of the world’s finest gamers (who’re additionally PGA Tour members) to a rival tour. It may/would affect plenty of issues: its golf product and model; its tournaments, sponsorships, community contracts and charitable work; and maybe extra.

Aren’t the gamers impartial contractors who can play anyplace?

Technically, sure.

Nonetheless, the PGA Tour is a membership group with event laws. It has denied waiver requests by PGA Tour gamers who’ve requested for permission to play in LIV Golf’s first occasion in England.

“Now we have notified those that have utilized that their request has been declined in accordance with the PGA TOUR Match Laws. As such, TOUR members usually are not approved to take part within the Saudi Golf League’s London occasion underneath our Laws,” mentioned PGA Tour senior vice chairman Tyler Dennis in a memo to gamers. “As a membership group, we consider this determination is in one of the best curiosity of the PGA TOUR and its gamers.”

The PGA Tour has additionally threatened suspension and everlasting bans for gamers who defect.

The DP World Tour, in a strategic alliance with the PGA Tour, has taken comparable positions with its gamers.

What is the controversy about?

There’s a lot, however here is a begin.

The brand new league is funded and backed by the Saudi authorities and its crown prince, who’re notorious for his or her human-rights document, together with the 2018 homicide of Washington Submit journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who had overtly criticized the crown prince.

[Phil] didn’t faux to be enthusiastic about hitching his fortunes to Saudi Arabia, admitting the SGL was nothing greater than what he known as “sportswashing” by a brutally repressive regime.

“They’re scary motherf—ers to get entangled with,” he mentioned. “We all know they killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible document on human rights. They execute individuals over there for being homosexual. Understanding all of this, why would I even contemplate it? As a result of this can be a once-in-a-lifetime alternative to reshape how the PGA Tour operates. They have been in a position to get by with manipulative, coercive, strong-arm techniques as a result of we, the gamers, had no recourse. As good a man as [PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan] comes throughout as, until you could have leverage, he will not do what’s proper. And the Saudi cash has lastly given us that leverage. I am undecided I even need [the SGL] to succeed, however simply the thought of it’s permitting us to get issues carried out with the [PGA] Tour.”

Extra lately, when requested concerning the Saudis’ human rights document and Khashoggi, Greg Norman mentioned, “We have all made errors.” LIV Golf later issued a press release saying that everybody agrees the Khashoggi killing was “reprehensible,” together with Greg Norman.

There was robust public response to Mickelson’s and Norman’s numerous feedback, many discovering their phrases and stances offensive and overtly questioning about their motivations associated to the brand new league.

Is it for the nice of golf and about offering gamers extra alternatives, or is it merely a brand new and larger cash seize?

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