Golfers receive ‘Tiger Woods treatment’ at Saudi-backed tournament

The new Saudi-backed golf league will pack luxury accommodation and parties at the opening of the LIV Golf Invitational at London’s Centurion Club next week, according to a brochure. Acquired by Telegraph Sport.

The brochure described what a Telegraph source called the “Tiger Woods treatment” for all competitors – free flights, accommodation at a five-star hotel and spa in Hertfordshire, first-class car service and invitations to lavish events.

One such event is the “Drag Party” on the red carpet at RD Studios – a newly renovated film production facility with 45,000 square feet of studio space and 36,000 square feet of courtyard. The party will be hosted by renowned DJ Fat Tony with “heavy cocktails, refreshments and canapes”.

The greatness also extends to the Centurion Club. Dining on the golf course will be supervised by English restaurateur Jason Atherton with Michelin star, and will later be presented by English music artists such as James Morrison and Craig David.

It’s just another root hanging in front of the golf world as LIV seeks to lure the sport’s biggest names to the new Super Golf League. He once pushed 2021 Masters winner Dustin Johnson to turn down the PGA Tour for LIV after she paid $ 150 million to take part in the new tournament, which kicks off on June 9 with a total purse of $ 25 million.

Who else competes in the LIV?

Johnson is the biggest draw, but he will be joined by others in the 42-man preliminary field that includes 2017 Masters winner Sergio Garcia, Taylor Gotch, Branden Grace, Martin Kaymer, Chase Kupka, Graeme McDowell, Kevin Na, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian . Poulter and Hudson Swaford Willie Westwood.

The top five participants of the Asian Tour International Series event at Sallya Hall Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort this weekend will join Johnson and the rest of the group at the LIV invitation.

The Telegraph believes a sixth golfer will be added and speculates that Phil Mickelson may join after retiring from the PGA Championship in May after his inflammatory remarks about the Saudi government and his general desire to perform at the LIV invitational event .

LIV controversy

The infamous Super Golf League has had its fair share of controversy since its inception in 2019.

First, it is backed by the Saudi Government’s Public Investment Fund, which has invested $ 2 billion in LIV Golf to strengthen a competitive PGA League. Saudi Arabia’s policy is ambiguous at best and the subject of much resentment around the world. Mickelson says it best in an excerpt from his new book:

“These are some dreaded dreads to get involved with. We know they were killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] Khashoggi has a terrible human rights record. They execute people there because they are gay. ”

It did not help that Greg Norman, CEO of LIV, abolished human rights violations by the Saudi government as “mistakes” in an attempt to depoliticize the university:

“Everyone knows him, right? We talked about it, from what I read, from what I mentioned. Take ownership of whatever it is. Look, we all made mistakes and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can fix them in the future.

“I do not look back. I do not look at the politics of things. I will not be caught up in everything that happens in someone else’s world. I heard about it and it went on.

Amnesty International has also warned golfers not to join a league the Saudis are paying for:

“Riyadh [the capital city of Saudi Arabia] The new love for the promotion of sport came at a time when Saudi authorities were carrying out mass executions, many human rights defenders were captured in the kingdom and when Saudi missiles were still raining down on civilians in Yemen.

“We call on all golfers who tend to play in Saudi-funded tournaments to think about how sports laundry works and how they can break the game by speaking out against human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. The persecuted human rights community in Saudi Arabia will be bitterly disappointed if well-paid golf stars take LIV Golf’s money, but remain silent about what is happening in Saudi Arabia. “

The LIV’s competition with the PGA Tour may have created an irreparable rift between Commissioner Jay Monahan and players leaving the new league. Tournament exceptions have already been denied to players who want to participate in both the LIV and PGA, and have even threatened to cancel tournament tickets for players who skip. In a statement obtained by ESPN, the tour said players competing in the new league are subject to disciplinary action.

“As all our members were informed on May 10, PGA Tour members are not allowed to participate in the Saudi Golf League in London, under the rules of the PGA Tour Championship. Members who violate the tournament rules are subject to disciplinary action. “

This is a brave new world in golf.

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