Saudi Arabia’s controversial bid to buy professional golf created a new moment in the sport with the announcement on Wednesday that the European team was leaving next year’s Ryder Cup captain, Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, ahead of his expected departure. The new Saudi-sponsored LIV Golf Series.
Stenson, who won his only major at the 2016 British Open, is set to become the latest player to be lured by the riches offered by the LIV Golf Series, which has rocked the once-polite world of professional golf since hosting its first event earlier this year. summer.
By guaranteeing players more money than they can afford in the biggest tours and tournaments that make up the traditional golf calendar, the LIV Series has created an ugly rift in the world of golf. The battle has divided golf into two camps: a group of traditionalists that includes some of the sport’s titans, including champions like Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, and a growing group of rebels that includes Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson deChambeau and, soon, Stenson.
“Given decisions made by Henrik regarding his personal circumstances, it has become clear that he will not be able to fulfill certain contractual obligations to Ryder Cup Europe that he made prior to his announcement as captain on Tuesday 15 March. 2022 and, therefore, it is impossible for him to continue as captain,” said the European Ryder Cup team. statement. The announcement did not specifically address Stenson’s pending resignation at LIV.
The Ryder Cup, a highly popular event that pits the United States against the European team, will be held at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome next September. European officials said Stenson’s sacking would take place “with immediate effect” and that they would soon name a new captain.
Quick Guide to the LIV Golf Series
New series. The launch of the new Saudi-sponsored LIV Golf Series has reignited long-standing questions about the athletes’ moral obligations and their desire to compete and earn money. Here’s what you need to know:
The LIV Golf Series has spawned a spectrum of golf, with major tours in the United States and Europe barring any player who participates in LIV events. The dispute has sparked a legal battle in the United States, where the Justice Department announced earlier this month that it was investigating the PGA Tour for anti-competitive behavior in its dealings with the competition.
While the event has created sparks to change golf’s traditions and restrictions — LIV tournaments are not cut back, millions of dollars in guaranteed prize money are played and 54 holes are played, rather than the usual 72 — the series has also become a lightning rod for human rights advocates who blame Saudi Arabia. In using sports to whitewash his reputation.
Earlier this week, relatives of those killed on 9/11 wrote to former President Donald J. Trump and called on him to cancel an event planned for later this month at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. The event is one of two that will be held at Trump-owned courses; The LIV Golf Series finale is also scheduled for October at Trump National in Doral, Florida.
We just don’t understand how you got the Royal Golf League of Saudi Arabia to agree to host their tournament at your golf course and do it in the shadow of ground zero in New Jersey, which has lost over 700 residents. attacks,” family members wrote in the letter, noting that even Mr. Trump has blamed Saudi Arabia for the 9/11 attacks in the past.
“It is beyond our understanding that the former President of the United States would cast aside our loved ones for personal financial gain,” the letter to Trump continued. We hope you will reconsider your business relationship with the Saudi Golf League and agree to meet with us.
Brett Eagleson, president of the group that sent the letter, 9/11 Justice, said Sunday that he had not received a response.
However, Mr. Trump discussed the LIV Golf fight on his social media site, Truth Social, on Tuesday. In a short post, he criticized the PGA Tour and told players to “get your money now.”
“All those golfers who remain ‘loyal’ to the very disloyal PGA in all its various forms will pay a heavy price when the inevitable merger with LIV takes place,” Trump wrote. He said a merger between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour was “inevitable.”
“If you don’t take the money now,” Mr. Trump wrote, “you won’t get anything after the merger, and just say how smart the original signatories were.”
LIV Circle, backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, has billions of dollars at its disposal. He has already used his wealth to poach star names for staggering signing fees. Mickelson, a six-time major winner, reportedly received $200 million to join, while DeChambeau recently said on a podcast that his deal with the series was worth more than $125 million. The series is directed by Australian Greg Norman, whose central role in attracting talent has made him a Parisian figure in the golf establishment. For example, he was banned from this year’s edition of the British Open despite being a past winner of the tournament.