Trump slams PGA Tour and praises Saudis for supporting LIV Golf

BEDMINSTER, NJ – Donald J. Trump praised Saudi supporters of a controversial new golf tournament Thursday, calling them his friends while criticizing the traditional PGA Tour.

The former president, wearing a white golf shirt and his signature baseball cap emblazoned with his familiar campaign slogan, spoke briefly during the pro-am segment of the LIV Golf event at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ. It belongs to him.

“I’ve known these people in Saudi Arabia for a long time, and they’ve been friends of mine for a long time,” Trump said after training on the track. “They have invested in many American companies. They own many, many American companies and frankly, what they do for golf is great, what they do for players is great. Wages will increase significantly.”

The LIV Golf Series is sponsored by the Sovereign Wealth Fund, which is overseen by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In 2018, during Trump’s presidency, US intelligence officials concluded that Prince Mohammed authorized the assassination of Saudi dissident and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump, who criticized the Saudis before his election in 2016, disputed their findings.

The Bedminster Club was previously scheduled to host the PGA Championship in 2022, but the PGA of America moved it to Oklahoma after the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, saying that holding it in Bedminster would be “detrimental to the PGA. American brand. ” (The PGA of America, which is separate from the PGA Tour, later reached an agreement with the Trump Organization.) Since then, Trump has supported the fledgling golf tour.

It is not known how much LIV Golf organizers paid Trump to use his club for the 54-hole tournament, the tour’s third event. But players who have moved on to the lucrative tour are guaranteed large sums of money and have resigned or been suspended from the PGA Tour for playing on it. At this time, LIV golfers can still play in four major tournaments not hosted by the PGA Tour, although that could change in the future.

“The PGA has not been loved by a lot of players, as you know, for a long time,” Trump said. “Now they have an alternative and nobody knew it would be a gold rush like this.” I don’t think anyone knew they were going to pay signing bonuses. The prize money would be much higher, you know, four times, five times, six times more. So instead of a million dollars you win five, seven or eight. There is a lot of money and it is growing. But the PGA Tour wasn’t doing well. “

During a brief interview with several reporters before he went to practice green, Trump was asked about the protests by the families of the 9/11 victims. The protesters, who plan to stage a counter-event on Friday when the main tournament kicks off, are among others who believe the Saudi government backed the organizers of the attacks.

“Unfortunately, nobody got to the bottom of 9/11,” Trump said. “They should have. As for the maniacs who did these terrible things to our city, our country, the world, so no one was there.

Trump was scheduled to play in Thursday’s event in a group that included professional golfers Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Yasir al-Rumayan, governor of the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, and his son Eric Trump.

“I never felt like I was in this group for a long time,” he said.

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