Players who take Saudi money for bad events look bad at golf

DrDespite Lee Westwood’s allegations, golfers were not given special attention during foreplay with Saudi Arabia. The ease with which Saudis entered the golf course – male and female – indeed serves as a reminder of the players’ glamorous lives. What a shameless awakening they – and their representatives – would have experienced if they had had the levels of focus given to Premier League clubs.

Westwood has spoken out about participating in the upcoming LIV golf series based on Chase Money. With the cost-of-living crisis taking its toll on millions of people’s ability to heat their homes or throw fuel in their cars, Westwood’s – hardly weak – pleasure for a $ 25 million golf tournament in Hertfordshire is quite distasteful, but not a pleasure on an extensive defense of his actions.

“that they [Saudi Arabia] “They’re trying to make changes quickly, and that’s probably worrying a lot of people and scaring a lot of people,” Westwood said. On March 12 this year, the kingdom executed 81 people. And that sounds significantly more intimidating than the rapid pace of updating that Westwood envisions. A spokesman for UPS, a longtime sponsor of Westwood, barely gave a resonant affirmation when asked what the company thinks of the high-profile athletes who happily accept the Saudi loot. “We are constantly evaluating our sponsorship and partnership decisions and will continue to monitor this situation,” they said.

While Saudi Norman, the public face of Saudi adventure golf, is taking media orders this week with carefully selected outlets, there is still reason to reflect on the absurdity of the whole scheme. Norman announced a $ 2 billion increase for something that had no commercial significance in the first place. The Australian stated that he did not respond to Mohammed bin Salman, as if the Crown Prince would take care of Robert Garrigues’ downtime directly. Norman is very keen to portray golfers as independent contractors. Maybe they are.

Phil Mickelson and Greg Norman speak during a practice tour before PIF Saudi International at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in February 2022
Greg Norman, pictured (right) with Phil Mickelson in Saudi Arabia in February, was a public face for the kingdom’s golf campaign. Photographer: Luke Walker / WME IMG / Getty Images

It is still frustrating that golfers are willing to help the Saudis with their sports laundry. Human rights atrocities cast a shadow over all PIF checks. From a competitive perspective, however, Norman’s plans for the first tournament, which takes place at the Centurion Club in early June, have already been undermined by the cast (which, oddly enough, LIV is still reluctant to reveal). Martin Kaymer, now number 195 in the world, has been described in some circles as a superstar who has become a star.

Centurion was initially named as the host for an Asian tour event, but was abandoned when LIV decided it wanted to continue with its own tournaments that had no world rankings. The Asian tour moved to Slaley Hall. Meanwhile, the world’s top players have announced their commitment to the current rounds.

The DP World Tour refuses to comment on the status of its members regarding Centurion. However, research by the Guardian has shown that five of the world’s six highest Englishmen – Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey, Terrell Hutton and Justin Rose – will not appear in their homeland. Which says something about the low level of appeal. The only exception is 49-year-old Richard Bland. Fitzpatrick, Fleetwood, Casey, Hatton and Rose take preparations for next week’s US Open very seriously. Neither Westwood nor Ian Poulter – who will also play for Centurion – are in Brooklyn Main Square.

Norman can only talk about the “Startup” tour he wants, but what he is currently presiding over is second tier. Playing 54 holes with a gun start sounds rather uncomfortable. There is no major broadcasting agreement and no current hope of capturing audiences’ minds. Norman would base his hopes on Phil Mickelson, but the fact that he was discredited by statements he made about Saudi Arabia forced him to live in professional exile.

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Then there is the case of Sergio Garcia. The Spaniard caused ripples last week with an explosion at the rules official who suggested he had not been on the PGA Tour for long. If García chooses to abandon the PGA Tour – which gave him $ 54.4 million in earnings on the track – or the DP World Tour, this is of course for him. However, two LIV events clash later this year, in Bangkok and Jeddah, with DP World Tour stops in Madrid and Andalusia. Does García, beloved in his homeland, realize how ridiculous he would look to Saudi Arabia like a show pony since Spain is holding these tournaments at the same time?

The PGA Tour took its first meaningful step toward a courtroom battle by refusing members’ request to play for Centurion. The DP World Cup will occupy a similar position. What the players’ penalty kicks follow remains to be seen. “We will not stop,” Norman replied. What level of field shows for the second LIV outing, in the US the first weekend in July, was really interesting. On American soil, there is an immediate challenge for the PGA Tour. It’s just hard to avoid feeling like he’s still weak and artful for now.

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