The new Saudi-funded, controversy-tailed LIV Golf series is all the rage in the world of golf this week, as it makes the first of two scheduled appearances at properties owned by former President Donald J. Trump. It didn’t always go as planned, though.
In June, the first LIV Golf Series season got underway, kicking off a multimillion-dollar endeavor. The Centurion Golf club in London hosted the inaugural tournament for the controversial project from June 9-11. Only three out of the total eight events have been completed so far, but they have all been successful.
As part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to change Saudi Arabia’s “conservative oil image” into one more akin to Dubai’s, the Saudi government is providing financial support for the LIV Golf tour. The goal of the project is to improve Saudi Arabia’s standing in the West and boost the country’s international influence.
The LIV trip has served as a diversion from MBS’s less-than-stellar human rights record, while also perhaps helping to make Saudi Arabia more of a luxury destination. Some in the golfing community have expressed indignation about the murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 and the subsequent starvation, sickness, and population displacement in Yemen as a direct result of the Saudi-led naval and land embargo.
Explain the Concept of LIV Golf.
Saudi Arabia’s national wealth fund is funding the new series, which is advertising itself as “an opportunity to revive golf” with high purses, high-profile participants, and slick promotion. One of the company’s slogans is “Golf, but louder.”
The goal of the LIV Golf organizers is to provide a competitive alternative to the PGA Tour, which has dominated professional golf for nearly a century. Some of the finest players in the world are among those who have criticized it, calling it a sleazy attempt to make quick cash.
When asked about LIV Golf’s place in the golf ecosystem, the backlash from the PGA Tour, Norman’s personal battle with the PGA Tour dating back to the ’90s, the big player’s LIV has signed, and his own legacy in the sport, Norman pulled no punches in his role as LIV Golf’s CEO and commissioner. He, too, responded forcefully to those who had criticized him and the other players who had accepted Saudi money.
Why Does This Cause so Much Debate?
In the golfing world, the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour have some new competition in the form of LIV Golf, a separate but equal league. The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, which has ties to the Saudi government, is providing the funding.
The league has been discussed since 2019, but it wasn’t until former professional Greg Norman became the series’ face in 2018 that it really took off.
Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have long been critical of the Saudi Arabian government’s track record on human rights.
Who Exactly Is Competing in The Liv Series?
Among the most famous golfers who will be competing in the series are Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, Sergio Garcia, Charl Schwartzel, and Kevin Na.
Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, and Rickie Fowler are said to be joining the series as well. As could be expected, the LIV series isn’t exactly well-liked by the established PGA Tour and DP Tour.
Even though the PGA Tour has warned players of fines and legal action if they sign up to LIV, several of the sport’s biggest personalities have already done so.
The Ethical Issues raised by the LIV Golf Tour, Which Is Sponsored by Saudi Arabia
The LIV circuit was created to compete with the PGA tour, despite its very different organizational structure. Though it’s pronounced similarly to “live,” the tournament’s name really refers to the roman numeral 54, which is the number of holes that each golfer will play.
The LIV tour also has a team competition, complete with a designated captain and roster of players. The LIV Golf Tour offers a much larger prize pool than the PGA Tour, which is perhaps the biggest difference between the two. Henrik Stenson won $4 million in the latest Saudi Arabian golf event.