To say the world of golf is in turmoil right now is an understatement. The US Open, the third major tournament of the year, has been held in Brooklyn near Boston since Thursday, and the decision will be made on Sunday in the 1999 Ryder Cup tournament. But the dominant theme throughout the week is the new Saudi-sponsored LIV Invitational Series, which It recently held its inaugural tournament near London.
As announced, the US PGA Tour suspended 17 players who were starting the LIV Championship, including such famous names as Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia. However, these players were all allowed to participate in the US Open this week because it is hosted by the US Federation and not by the PGA Tour. Thus, for example, Phil Mickelson held his first press conference in the United States since he committed to the Saudi tour.
The now 52-year-old six-time main winner did not try to pour more fuel into the fire and provided detailed but equally meaningless information about his current situation. “I know that many people have strong opinions about my decision to join LIV Golf. I understand and respect that.” And Mickelson played his first round on Thursday, and many fans celebrated him but others made fun of him. “Greed is good, Phil,” shouted one onlooker, referring to the sums of money that could be made from the Saudis.
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Mickelson, for example, is said to have raised just $200 million for his commitment to LIV Golf, and Tiger Woods is said to have made a bid of close to $1 billion. However, the missing star refused from Brookline. But for others, the experience was just too great. Martin Kaymer, who won the US Open in 2014, earned $245,000 last week to finish 16th in London, and he does the same with South African LIV winner Charles Schwarzl, who took home four million, as He said, “The money that comes from him is not something I ever looked at while playing.”
Kaymer’s recent start seems odd even as he was absent from the German championship in Winsen through injury as he is now from the US Open. Of course, he did not have to face the investigative questions of the reporters on site, thus exposing himself to a nerve test. American star Brooks Koepka, for example, who has already won the US Open twice, failed and was afraid. Speaking to the media in Brooklyn, he said, “You’re all throwing dark clouds over us. I’m sick of this. That stench for me. We want to play the US Open and we just need to talk about the other things.” Koepka hasn’t played in the LIV series yet, but his less talented brother does.
Rory McIlroy has repeatedly criticized the LIV series
Rory McIlroy has long positioned himself as one of the Saudi Tour’s biggest critics and has remained true to himself on this: “What you’re doing doesn’t make sense – except collecting a pile of coals,” the Northern Irishman said, expressing that’s what most opponents at LIV Golf think.
The fact that some defectors are no longer allowed to play on the US Tour seems to be bearable for these professionals thanks to Saudi prize money, even if the eight-event championship series is fairly straightforward. Thus the former best dogs are still looking for the right way to handle LIV players. The US PGA has sent a clear signal here, while the European counterpart is still hesitating. The tournament next week in Munich Eichenried is open to all.
It is doubtful whether this will remain so. Because in the meantime, consideration is already being given to withdrawing the right to start the Ryder Cup from golfers on the Saudi Tour.
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