Golfing Superstar Phil Mickelson is leaving the PGA and will join the new professional golf league back by President Donald Trump, LIV Golf.
Greg Norman, the frontman for the new Saudi cash-funded league said:
“Phil Mickelson is unequivocally one of the greatest golfers of this generation.
“His contributions to the sport and connection to fans around the globe cannot be overstated and we are grateful to have him.
“He strengthens an exciting field for London where we’re proud to launch a new era for golf.”
Mickelson said earlier the Saudis were “scary motherf—ers to get involved with.
“We know they killed Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights.
“They execute people over there for being gay.
“Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it?
“Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.
“They’ve been able to get by with manipulative, coercive, strong-arm tactics because we, the players, had no recourse.
“As nice a guy as Monahan comes across as, unless you have leverage, he won’t do what’s right.
“And the Saudi money has finally given us that leverage.
“I’m not sure I even want the SGL to succeed, but just the idea of it is allowing us to get things done with the PGA Tour.
“I don’t know where things are headed, but I know I will be criticized.
“The media rights are but a small fraction of everything else,” he said.
“And it is the Tour’s obnoxious greed that has really opened the door for opportunities elsewhere.”
Other star golfers are also making the move. Dustin Johnson told the PGA he will join the Trump-backed LIV Golf league.
He was reportedly paid around $125 million to join the Saudi Arabia-funded competitor to the PGA.
Johnson’s decision to leave the PGA Tour caused one of his sponsors, the Royal Bank of Canada, to dump him.
The PGA is mounting a full-court press to persuade top golfers to stay.
“Dustin’s been contemplating this for the past two years and decided it was in his and his family’s best interest to pursue it,” Johnson’s agent David Winkle said.
“He’s never had any issue with the PGA Tour and is grateful for all it’s given him but in the end felt this was too compelling to pass up.”
“As a result of the decisions made by professional golfers Dustin Johnson and Graeme McDowell to play the LIV Golf Invitational Series opener, RBC is terminating its sponsorship agreement with both players,” the company said in a statement.
“RBC is a proud partner of the PGA Tour. Our partnership is anchored with two world-class golf tournaments—the RBC Heritage and the RBC Canadian Open.
“The PGA Tour has been clear about its intentions in accordance with its tournament regulations should a golfer choose to play in a tournament outside the tour, including the LIV Golf Invitational Series.
“We wish them well in their future endeavors.”
“We were recently made aware that Dustin Johnson made the decision to play the LIV Golf Invitational Series opener,” RBC said earlier.
“DJ has been a valued RBC team member since 2018. While we are extremely disappointed in his decision, we wish him well.”
Other leading golfers making the move include Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Kevin Na, Lee Westwood, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, Charl Schwartzel, and Talor Gooch.
Trump is backing the new league after the PGA of America announced last year they were yanking a major tournament from Trump’s club in Bedminster.
“The PGA of America Board of Directors voted tonight to exercise the right to terminate the agreement to play the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster,” said Jim Richerson, PGA of America President.
The LIV will host an event at Trump National Doral, Miami, USA.
The full list of events in the LIV series is below:
- 9-11 June: Centurion Golf Club – London, England
- 1-3 July: Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club – Portland, USA
- 29-31 July: Trump National Golf Club Bedminster – New Jersey, USA
- 2-4 September: The International – Boston, USA
- 16-18 September: Rich Harvest Farms – Chicago, USA
- 7-9 October: Stonehill Golf Club – Bangkok, Thailand
- 14-16 October: Royal Greens Golf Club – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- 27-30 October: Team Championship, Trump National Doral, Miami, USA