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Watan – The British newspaper “The Telegraph” revealed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia offered the famous golfer Ian Poulter 22 million pounds (about 30 million US dollars) to give up the Ryder Cup. And join the rebel golf tour that Saudi Arabia is trying to establish.
The paper said Ian Poulter was being lured by the Premier Golf Association with the Saudis. Who are looking to register a quorum of the big names for their getaway circuit as soon as possible.
The paper pointed out that Poulter reportedly offered him between $20 million and $30 million as his good friend Henrik Stenson. Explaining that he now had to make a decision, she asked: “A sum of money that changes your life or a Ryder Cup?” It was a question that would weigh heavily on the deliberations of one of Europe’s biggest and most enthusiastic players.
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She noted that the Englishman had expressed his desire to reappear in blue and gold and was seen as a future leader, perhaps for New York in 2025.
However, according to the paper, he has no doubt that if he were to receive the Saudi dollars, he would. He will face a lifetime ban from both the PGA and European tours. If there is no shift in official policy, it will be a farewell to the two-year period that essentially defined his career.
The paper said Poulter believes the sacrifice is worth it for the sake of financial security. However, he sees Stinson’s predicament in understanding the difficulty of choosing.
Saudi Arabia pays millions to attract players
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Stinson, 45, is one of four candidates to replace Padraig Harrington as captain for next year’s game in Rome in 2023 – the others being fellow Swede Robert Carlson, Luke Donald and Paul Lowry – but has been told he must ensure that he will not join. SGL before taking the position.
Both Poulter and Stinson will play in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia this week. The $5 million event was once part of the European Tour – since it was rebranded as the DP World Tour – but due to a global power struggle, it is now on the Asian Tour.
It is nothing but an ordinary Asian stadium. The Saudis pay up to $15 million in appearance fees to attract players such as Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Poulter and Stinson.
And as CEO of Liv Golf Investments – the recently established entity backed by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund. Responsible for the kingdom’s thriving golf empire – Greg Norman is on the loose at the Royal Greens Country Club.
According to the newspaper, Norman was mocked at last Tuesday’s press conference. By insisting that “we’re not looking for a fight”. Although he declared this first unprecedented invasion of England “just the beginning”.
“We are positioning the Asian Tour as a powerful new force on the world stage,” said Norman, the former world number one. “Just because the International Series is linked to the Asian tour, we want to convey the message that it is not specific to the Asian region.
“Healthy competition and respectful competition should spread the game of golf worldwide,” he said. That is why it is so encouraging for us to go to London, it will be so encouraging when we go to the United States. This is just the beginning, just the beginning of this journey. We are not here for a fight, there is no doubt. We are in this for the good of the game.”
Premier league of golf
And the paper pointed out that Norman continued to sidestep those who believe the kingdom is using the Public Investment Fund – which recently bought Newcastle United – in an attempt to “sport-wash” his reputation, saying: “It is personally disappointing to see some attacks that happened without justification. If you are prejudicing someone without knowing the facts, then shame on you.”
Norman then asked the PGA and DP World Tour to come to the negotiating table to discuss the formation of the SGL, a Formula One-style world circuit.
Prior to this point, Wentworth HQ chief executive Keith Bailey had been in talks with the Saudis about collaborating to launch Premier League golf, with New York venture capitalist Raine Group also involved in the billion-dollar proposals.
The plan was to convince the best players in the world to get huge sums and create a world class Formula One circuit. However, Bailey went with the strength of the Americans. It took nearly $100 million and a guarantee for sanctioned events — and PGL was left high and dry.
And backed by the kingdom’s $500 billion sovereign wealth fund. They decided to go it alone and quickly set up camp in Florida in an attempt to attract players.
The newspaper emphasized that contracts had been issued and the PGA Tour was so concerned about the looming threat that their commissioner Jay Monahan. He issued a warning last May that anyone associated with the breakaway league would face a lifetime ban.
(Source: The Telegraph – Translated by Watan)