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Trump Courses Will Host LIV Golf Tournaments in 2023

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Former President Donald J. Trump’s golf courses will host three tournaments this yr for the breakaway league that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is underwriting, deepening the financial ties between a candidate for the White House and top officials in Riyadh.

LIV Golf, which prior to now yr has solid men’s skilled golf into turmoil because it lured players away from the PGA Tour, said on Monday that it will travel to Trump courses in Florida, Recent Jersey and Virginia during this yr’s 14-stop season. Neither the league nor the Trump Organization announced the terms of their arrangement, however the schedule shows the Saudi-backed start-up will remain allied with, and useful to, one in all its foremost defenders and political patrons as he seeks a return to power.

A part of LIV’s scheduling approach, executives say, hinges on the relative scarcity of elite courses that may challenge players similar to Phil Mickelson and Cameron Smith — and the abundance of them in a Trump portfolio that’s more accessible than many others to the brand new circuit. In a court filing last week, LIV Golf complained anew that the PGA Tour had warned “golfers, other tours, vendors, broadcasters, sponsors and virtually another third parties” against doing business with the rebel league.

But Trump, whose courses hosted two LIV Golf events in 2022, has expressed no public misgivings about his company’s ties to the league, which has drawn attention to Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses and prompted accusations that the country was turning to sports to repair its status. A confidential McKinsey & Company evaluation presented to Saudi officials in 2021 suggested there have been significant obstacles to success and underscored the limited financial potential for one in all the world’s largest wealth funds.

Long before Monday’s announcement, the Trump family was closely entangled with the wealth fund, which Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman oversees and the PGA Tour is now attempting to draw directly into its legal fight against LIV.

A Guide to the LIV Golf Series

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A recent series. The debut of the brand new Saudi-financed LIV Golf series has resurfaced longstanding questions on athletes’ moral obligations and their desire to compete and earn money. Here’s what to know:

What’s LIV Golf? The series is an upstart skilled golf circuit bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. Its organizers hope to position it as a player-power-focused alternative to the PGA Tour, which has been the best level of professional golf for nearly a century.

Why is the brand new series controversial? The event has created sparks inside golf for upending the traditions and strictures of how the sport is played. It has also change into a lightning rod for human rights campaigners who accuse Saudi Arabia of using sports to launder its status.

What’s attracting the players? The LIV Golf events are the richest tournaments in golf history. The primary tournament’s total purse was $25 million, and the winner’s share was $4 million. The last-place finisher at each event was guaranteed $120,000. That’s on top of the looks fees and nine-figure signing-on payouts some players have accepted.

Formally often known as the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund has agreed to take a position $2 billion in a firm controlled by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law. Along with the tournaments that LIV staged last yr at Trump properties in Florida and Recent Jersey, the wealth fund was the “presenting partner” for a women’s golf series that held an October event at a Trump course within the Bronx.

The Trump Organization didn’t reply to questions on Monday in regards to the financial terms of its arrangement with LIV Golf, which declined to comment. As a substitute, Eric Trump, one in all the previous president’s sons and an executive vice chairman of his family’s business, said in a press release that the corporate was “honored to be hosting” the league.

“What LIV Golf completed of their first season was truly remarkable and we’re excited to boost the bar even higher together in 2023,” he added.

Beyond financial considerations, Donald Trump’s enthusiastic embrace of LIV Golf will be partly traced to his episodic clashes with the sport’s establishment. The PGA Tour, which LIV is attempting to challenge for supremacy in the lads’s skilled game, said through the 2016 presidential campaign that it was ending its long connection to a Trump club near Miami. (The tour commissioner, Tim Finchem, denied on the time that the choice was “a political exercise” and as a substitute characterised it as “fundamentally a sponsorship issue.”)

After the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the P.G.A. of America, which is separate from the tour, abandoned its plans to host the 2022 P.G.A. Championship at a Trump property in Recent Jersey. And the R&A, which organizes the British Open, has essentially refused to return its championship tournament to Turnberry, a glimmering Scottish course that Trump now owns.

So it got here as little surprise when Trump, who as president publicly resisted the conclusion of American intelligence agencies that the crown prince had authorized the killing of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, closely aligned himself and his business with LIV in its debut season.

In an interview with The Recent York Times at LIV’s team championship event in October, the previous president said he had no second thoughts about hosting the series’ tournaments. Pressed on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, Trump, who that day had described Saudi officials as “good individuals with unlimited money,” replied: “We now have human rights issues on this country, too. We now have human rights issues here as much as anybody.”

Trump’s business ties to the Middle East reach beyond LIV and the wealth fund. In November, he reached a cope with a Saudi real estate company that’s planning a $4 billion project in Oman, including a Trump-branded hotel and golf course. The federal government of Oman owns the land where the complex is anticipated to be built, and it’s collaborating with Dar Al Arkan, the Saudi firm that signed the contract with the previous president.

The total schedule, released on Monday after a run of scattered announcements and leaks, begins in late February in Mexico on the El Camaleón course at Mayakoba. The league will hold eight events in the USA, including tournaments at Trump courses in Recent Jersey and near Miami and Washington. Its schedule also features a return to Centurion Golf Club, the property near London where LIV played its first tournament last yr, and a debut at Real Club Valderrama, the Spanish course that hosted the Ryder Cup in 1997.

The season’s final tournament, days after the competition on the Trump-controlled property in Doral, Fla., will probably be in Saudi Arabia.

LIV’s format, built around 54-hole tournaments with shotgun starts and no cuts, has repeatedly drawn the ire of among the PGA Tour’s remaining stars, who’ve sometimes complained that defectors like Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka are playing a watered-down game.

Suspicion and litigation linger, too, but LIV has secured two victories these days: a call by Augusta National Golf Club to permit the league players who qualify to compete on this yr’s Masters Tournament and a modest television contract with the CW network.

There was other turmoil, though. LIV’s ambitions to recruit the world’s top 12 players, a pivotal goal, appear to have stalled, and a few of its top executives have left in recent weeks. Litigation against the PGA Tour has been acrimonious, and the 2 sides have clashed over the extent of Saudi influence in LIV’s day-to-day work.

LIV Golf has insisted that its “stakeholders take a long-term approach to our business model” and that it was “confident that over the subsequent few seasons, the remaining pieces of our business model will come to fruition as planned.”

On Monday, not long before the scheduled rollout, LIV nearly secured a win on the golf course: Patrick Reed lost to Rory McIlroy, one in all LIV’s best antagonists, by a stroke on the weather-delayed Dubai Desert Classic.

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