Trump puts blame on PGA Tour for LIV Golf split

Former U.S. President Donald Trump says the PGA Tour should have reached a deal with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf.

Former United States President Donald Trump said on Thursday that the PGA Tour “blew a great opportunity” by not making a deal with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf.

Trump is hosting LIV’s season-ending team championship at his Trump National course near Miami, starting on Friday, and praised the breakaway circuit and their Saudi backers.

“I think the Tour really blew a great opportunity and now they are in a much more difficult position,” Trump told reporters after playing 18 holes in the Pro Am competition.

“It’s big time, it’s big time money, unlimited money, they love golf, they actually love golf and the Saudis have done a fantastic job,” Trump said.

“The enthusiasm, you hear the music, you hear a lot of things, it’s different and so we are having a good time,” he said.

Asked whether he thought LIV represented the future of golf though Trump was more cautious but placed the blame for the split firmly on the established PGA Tour’s leadership.

“I don’t know, I think that ultimately maybe something gets worked out but the Tour mishandled it so badly, the people at the top, something should happen with them, they mishandled it so badly,” he said.

“They had, not only an advantage, they are dealing with very good people with unlimited money, they are good people with unlimited money. Something could have been worked out very easily and the Tour decided to go, as Richard Nixon said, to stonewall it, that didn’t work out too well for them,” he added.

LIV, which is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s $620 billion public investment fund, has invested unprecedented millions in the sport with this week’s event at Doral boasting a record purse of $50 million.

Critics of LIV Golf say the venture is an example of “sportswashing”, designed to deflect attention away from Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

There are now a number of legal battles underway with no sign of a compromise between the two organisations. World number one Rory McIlroy said this week that he feared the split may become “irreparable”.

Trump said he expected more stars to follow the example of Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson and leave the PGA Tour for LIV.

“A lot of other people are coming over, you know that, big names, they are coming over,” he said.

“The star system is always very important in sport, in sport or anything else, if you don’t have the star system you are not going to be successful,” he added.

Trump also said the organisers of the British Open want to return the competition to Turnberry in Scotland, one of the courses he owns.

“They want to come back…I think this will all have to get sorted out first (though), he said.


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