England’s Casey confirms he’s joining Saudi-backed LIV Golf

England's Paul Casey, seen here at the US PGA Tour Players Championship, says he'll make his LIV Golf debut at Bedminster, the third event of the breakaway tour's first season
AFP

England’s Paul Casey confirmed Saturday he’s making the jump to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series, but the 44-year-old hopes to play the Open Championship before his debut on the breakaway circuit.

Casey, 44, is ranked 26th in the world, giving the controversial LIV circuit 22 of the world’s top 100 players.

“I’m so excited,” Casey said in an interview during the live stream of Saturday’s final round of the LIV Golf Invitational in Portland, Oregon.

A lingering back injury forced Casey out of the US Open, and he noted that he hadn’t played a tournament since March.

Casey said he planned to make his LIV debut later this month at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey.

That will be the third of eight events in this inaugural LIV season.

First, however, Casey said he would “love to tee it off in the Open Championship in St. Andrews.

“I’ve already missed three majors so far this year … and then you will see me at Bedminster.”

The R&A announced in June that players signed up to the LIV Golf series will be allowed to compete in the 150th Open Championship, even though the US PGA Tour has banned those involved in the rebel venture and the DP World Tour has also levied sanctions.

The series, bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, has plunged the golf world into turmoil, drawing stinging criticism from human rights groups who say the lucrative series is an attempt to boost the kingdom’s image through sport.

In 2019, Casey was outspoken about not playing in the original Saudi International tournament, then sanctioned by the European Tour.

He cited his then-association with UNICEF for skipping the tournament, telling the Independent newspaper that “signing a deal and being paid to be down there … I would be a hypocrite if I did that.”

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