Donald Trump says PGA Tour decisions over LIV Golf were ‘mishandled’

DORAL, Fla. — Saying more “big names” are heading to LIV Golf, former President Donald Trump on Thursday criticized the PGA Tour for its handling of the rival Tour backed by the Saudi wealth fund.

Trump also suggested the R&A would like to bring the British Open back to its Turnberry course in Scotland; Following the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol, the R&A said it would not be hosting events there “for the foreseeable future”.

Trump, who played in the pro-am at his Trump National Doral Golf Club, where the LIV Invitational Series Miami event begins on Friday, spoke briefly with reporters afterward.

Two events in LIV Golf’s inaugural season were held at Trump-owned golf courses.

“The Tour handled it so badly,” Trump said of his decision not to work with LIV but to suspend players who play LIV Golf events. “People at the top…something should happen with them. They handled it so badly. Not only did they have an edge, but they were dealing with really good people with unlimited money. They are good people with unlimited money. And something could have been solved very easily.

“And the Tour decided to go, as Richard Nixon said, block it. It didn’t work too well for them. Like we said before, what they did is bad for golf. They could have had something so amazing. And now they banged into the pension fund in order to raise prize money. And the players are not happy with that, the pension fund. So it’s going to be very interesting.

“And by the way, a lot of other people come. Big names. You know. The star system is still very important in sport. Whether it’s sports or something else. And they have the stars.”

LIV Golf has been a disruptive force in golf this year, hosting its eighth and final event of the season at Doral, which hosted a PGA Tour event from 1962 to 2016 but left when a title sponsor couldn’t. be obtained. He moved to Mexico City, where the WGC-Mexico Championship was played before returning to a regular Tour event this year.

When the move was announced in 2016, Trump noted he hoped the PGA Tour had “kidnap insurance” and suggested it was done for political reasons. Trump was running for president when the change was announced and was not yet the Republican nominee.

Then PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said the decision was made because no title sponsor could be found in Miami.

“They didn’t want to go to Mexico,” Trump said. “They went and it didn’t work out very well.”

The WGC-Mexico Championship was played from 2017-20, then in 21 moved to Bradenton, Florida due to the pandemic. It resumed this year as the Mexico Open.

Trump suggested PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and officials should have met with LIV Golf executives, including the Public Investment Fund, the Saudi fund that is funding the company with $25 million for its first seven events. and a $50 million purse this week. for the team championship. The fund also paid guaranteed contracts to numerous players, including Brooks Koepka and Sergio Garcia, Trump’s 18-hole round pros on Thursday.

As for Trump’s claim that the PGA Tour is tapping into its pension fund to increase purses, Monahan said at the Tour Championship in August that 12 elevated events that will see purses increased to $20 million are being funded. with a combination of Title Sponsor funds and Touring Reserves.

Trump called LIV Golf a “big moment.” They really love golf. The Saudis have done a fantastic job. You hear music, lots of different things. But this [pro-am] was great fun. And I think they’re going to have a great time.

“I think it’s great for golf. I think the Tour really missed a great opportunity. They missed it so much. Now they are in such a different position.

Trump’s course in Doral and one in Bedminster, NJ, have been sites for LIV events this year, with his course outside of Washington, DC set to have another next year. Asked about Turnberry, his Scottish venue which has hosted the Open four times but none since 2009, Trump said: “We are very careful with Turnberry.”

There have been rumors that LIV Golf might want to play an event there, but Trump said he’s still hoping for an Open and the R&A “wants to go back.”

Following the January 6 attacks, the R&A issued a statement saying that “we had no intention of holding any of our championships at Turnberry and will not do so for the foreseeable future. We will not return until we are confident that the focus will be on the Championship, the players and the course itself and we do not believe this is feasible under the current circumstances.

Turnberry is one of 10 courses in the Open rotation.

Comments are closed.