The Saudi-funded LIV Invitational series is significantly disrupting the golf landscape. Newly-minted LIV Golf competitor, it appears, will do a degree of damage to the old, staid PGA Tour for a while, barring any unexpected worldwide fossil-fuel divestment. The Saudi-backed LIV Invitational Golf Series kicked off with the inaugural event on June 9, drawing several PGA Tour players for significant financial rewards. The prestigious PGA Tour has also reduced its field sizes at the FedEx Cup; the Saudi-funded LIV Invitational series events are shorter and played in smaller fields and changed the scheduling of its tours to better align with the lighter, more flexible schedule offered by LIV Golf, a choice that some golfers prefer.
The Premier Golf League discussed a financial collaboration with Saudi investors; however, Golf Saudi instead sponsored a newly established corporation in 2020 with its own proposal to build a global pro league, branded the “Super Golf League.” LIV Golf Investments was being publicly launched in October 2021, with ex-professional golfer Greg Norman as CEO.
In announcing dramatic changes to the schedule last week, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan called the Saudi-backed golf league an irrational threat to golf. In addition to concerns over Saudi involvement, LIV Golf Investment’s new tournaments pose severe challenges for the U.S. PGA Tour, a primary venue for most players at the top of the rankings. Regarding the big four, players’ presence in a new golf tour has also questioned their involvement in them.
In response, many players, including Dustin Johnson, have just retired from the PGA Tour, and they will continue with LIV Golf, which is basically the golf league that many players play in the regular season. Providing money issues and lifestyle balancing issues as justifications, the decisions by a faction of players to part ways in order to play the LIV Golf Series has been met with varying reactions by their fellow Tour members. Several top-profile players, such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and Sergio Garcia, joined the LIV Golf series.
The chain’s website claims the Saudi-funded LIV Invitational Series is a chance to revitalise golf. Still, opponents and human rights advocates claim Saudi Arabia, whose government was found to be responsible for killing Washington Post journalists and has a history of human rights abuses, has used golf to clear its reputation, a strategy known as the sport washing Saudi. Decorated golfer Phil Mickelson has reportedly admitted Saudi Arabia uses the Saudi-funded LIV Invitational Series to enhance its reputation as a repressive, lethal regime. As the LIV Invitational Series makes its first trip on American soil, hosting an event in North Plains, Ore., controversy over whether or not the series is good for the game is growing.