The Saudi-backed golf tournament loaded with controversies is set to begin Friday at Trump golf course. Starting on the 29th of July 2022, Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster will host the third event for LIV Golf. The new Saudi-backed professional circuit has rocked the sport’s main professional organizer, the PGA Tour. The circuit pulled away big-name golfers with guaranteed paydays.
Trump has already promoted the event in interviews. He gave out public statements regarding the same. He encouraged golfers to join LIV Golf and disparaged the PGA Tour.
“Just arrived in Bedminster for the big LIV Tour Golf Tournament,” he posted on Wednesday on Truth Social, the social media site he brought in service. “Record money to winners, great excitement. Come on out on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday to watch the great play by the best players!”
Trump is extracting benefits from his professional relationship with LIV Golf. In October, LIV Golf is set to hold its final competition of the year at Trump National Doral in South Florida.
The activists expressed concerns that LIV Golf provides international legitimacy to the ruling regime in Saudi Arabia. This has been accused of human rights violations, but Trump has brushed aside such criticisms.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump spoke approvingly about how the golf tour has already improved the kingdom’s reputation. The LIV Golf is financed by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.
“I think LIV has been a great thing for Saudi Arabia, for the image of Saudi Arabia,” he told the Journal.
Human rights groups and media organizations have questions centered around the 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
A US intelligence report reveals that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the operation to capture or kill the Saudi journalist. It confirmed reports soon after the murder that the CIA had made the same conclusion.
During his presidency, Trump publicly downplayed these allegations. He denied that bin Salman was involved in his administration. This strengthened US ties with the Saudis.
The LIV event has raised the ire of some survivors and families of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Terry Strada, chair of 9/11 Families United, said she was “very disappointed” in Trump. But she brought to notice that he was not the main target of the group’s criticism.
In an interview on Thursday, he reiterated that he has been “friends” with people in Saudi Arabia for a “long time.”
“Frankly, what they are doing for golf is so great. What they are doing for the players is so great,” the former President appreciated.
He was questioned about the families of 9/11 victims who are protesting the LIV Golf event. Trump answered it with a question about whether there was knowledge of the Saudi involvement in the terrorist attacks.
“Nobody has gotten to the bottom of 9/11, unfortunately, and they should have, as to the maniacs that did that horrible thing to our city, to our country, to the world,” he said. “So nobody has really been there. But I can tell you that there are a lot of really great people that are out here today.”
Following Trump’s remarks on the 9/11 attacks, Strada commented that the former President “knows full well it was the Kingdom. He did everything in his power to protect the kingdom while in office by reneging on a promise he made to 9/11 families he would declassify FBI reports re: Saudis involvement in 9/11.”
The PGA Tour criticized the new circuit. It has suspended players who have signed on with LIV Golf, including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.
Trump himself seems to relish the damage to the PGA Tour. He has had a rocky relationship with the same. His clubs have hosted events for the PGA in the past. But the PGA Tour has not held an event at a Trump property since a March 2016 tournament at Doral.
“All of those golfers that remain ‘loyal’ to the very disloyal PGA, in all of its different forms, will pay a big price when the inevitable MERGER with LIV comes, and you get nothing but a big thank you from PGA officials who are making Millions of Dollars a year,” Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social. “If you do not take the money now, you will get nothing after the merger takes place, and only say how smart the original signees were.”
Trump had spoken about professional sports since entering politics. During his presidency, he used to criticize the National Football League. He abhorred the fact of allowing players to protest during the national anthem. In 2021, Trump joined other Republicans to boycott Major League Baseball. The league moved its All-Star Game from Atlanta to conform to a new Georgia election law.
The Saudi-backed golf tournament loaded with controversies is set to begin Friday at Trump golf course.