opinion | Saudi-backed golf competitor for the PGA is a case of ‘LIV and Let die’

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Rick Riley, a former Sports Illustrated contributor and ESPN contributor, is the author of “So Help Me Golf: Why We Love The Game. “

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but pro golf is a triple bogey at the moment. It is teetering on the brink of disaster.

Leaf Golf, Saudi Arabia’s effort to launder its murderous human rights record by buying professional golfers for ridiculous money (Phil Mickelson: $200 million), is doing well.

The inaugural event of the LIV and Let Die Tour, with a whopping $25 million purse, ended on Saturday at the Centurion Club in north London. LIV has already signed nine major corporate winners, with more big-name runaways to come.

These golfers know that the Saudis massacred journalist Jamal Khashoggi. They know that the Saudis imprison dissidents, criminalize homosexuality, and persecute women. In response, the players sent a message loud and clear: We do not care. We want bigger planes.

It’s funny to hear Mickelson and the others try to justify working for blood money. Well, sure, he knows that Saudis are “scary mothers,” as his biographer, Alan Shipnock, told him. But he also says, “I’ve also seen the good that golf has done throughout history.”

the correct. Nothing comforts the oppressed people of a tyrannical nation like a ruined 6 iron. Do you remember when Kim Jong Il shot 34 one day and the North Korean people weren’t suddenly starving? Yes, me too.

It’s not about the money, says Mickelson. (It is), he says working with the Saudis is part of his plan to “reshape” the PGA Tour that made him. What he’s really trying to reshape is his retirement account.

Twice main winner Dustin Johnson says it’s not all about the money. (it is). No, his decision to take $125 million from the state about 75 percent of the 9/11 terrorists are called home is about doing what’s best for my family. Married to Gretsky, he was already rich from Kardashian and had only two children. What does he want each of them to have their own yacht?

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods (I hear) turned down over $500 million. He would have taken this amount on the first day of the sheikh’s week. Every LIV, every round, he could put out radios (103 and 107 seconds) and still make enough to choke a Walton family member. I don’t want any part of it.

But a golf gauntlet turns into a fire hose. Just signed up Superstar Bryson DeChambeau and his 400-yard biceps, as did 2018 Masters champ Patrick Reed and Players champ Ricky Fowler. There’s talk of Bubba Watson, too. Hey, will the last person to leave the PGA Tour bring the sticks, please?

This is disgusting for golf. This means that the number of events when the best view is best will be far from the desert oases.

No wonder the PGA Tour began suspending Saudi signed players within minutes of the first LIV shot on Thursday. They were so dumbfounded, they had to console themselves by counting all the zeros on their check.

Already, players and the media are discovering what life is like under an autocratic rule. An Associated Press reporter was fired from the LIV press at Centurion last week for not being “polite.” (He was asking a tough question; in the end they let him back in.) Shipnuck was pushed around on Thursday when Mickelson was about to speak to reporters.

So what now? no one knows. The PGA Tour does not say how long the ban will last. US Open officials say they will allow players to participate in the tournament this week, but what about next year? What about DeChambeau and Johnson, who have a 10-year exemption to play in the tournament? Augusta National did not say a word, but it will ban five Former Masters champions?

The US PGA is stuck, too. If you ban all LIVers from the Ryder Cup, that will be weaker than C-SPAN 3.

The Saudis will not leave. There is no bottom for their wallets. The PGA Tour has to change, and I mean yesterday. You should start allowing attendance fees. You should start paying for can hotels and health insurance. You should start making smaller cash snippets, you don’t need to make a cut, thick stars on their own. It needs to stop worrying so much about the 101st ranked player and start worrying about the former.

The PGA Tour needs to open a small window to allow these defectors to enter again. Because otherwise, you will soon wake up at 2 am to watch the masters of Mecca.

Note, Phil, be careful with your new bosses. If they start talking about “sudden death”… I run.

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