LIV Golf, the Saudi Arabia-backed professional golf series, will make three stops at courses owned by former president Donald Trump this year, including a May 26-28 tournament at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va.
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Trump’s relationship with LIV was cemented last year, when the renegade series held two of its eight events at Trump properties. Family members of 9/11 victims who, along with others, have decried the venture as an attempt to “sportswash” Saudi Arabia’s horrific record of human rights abuses, protested when LIV hosted a tournament at Bedminster in July. A week after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, the PGA of America canceled plans to hold the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump’s New Jersey course.
With exorbitant guaranteed paychecks backed by the Saudi government’s Public Investment Fund, LIV lured several popular golfers from the rival PGA Tour, including Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson and Cameron Smith, in its first season. The fund is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the CIA concluded ordered the assassination of Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
The 2023 LIV Golf League schedule is here
— LIV Golf (@LIVGolfInv) January 30, 2023
Trump has expressed no misgivings about his ties to LIV. When the league held its 2022 team championship at Trump’s Doral course in October, the former president said “the Saudis have done a fantastic job” and took aim at the PGA Tour, which has banned all of the golfers who defected to LIV.
“The PGA is being destroyed by the PGA,” Trump told reporters. “They were stupid, and they shouldn’t be stupid.”
Trump frequented his course in Sterling, which is located on the shores of the Potomac River about 30 miles from the White House, during his presidency. The course hosted the Senior PGA Championship in 2017.
Other U.S. stops on this year’s schedule include Tucson (March 17-19), Orlando (March 31-April 2), Tulsa (May 12-14), White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. (Aug. 4-6) and Chicago (Sept. 22-24). Additional events will take place in Australia, Singapore, Spain and the United Kingdom, with players competing for a purse of $405 million.
LIV’s format differs from the PGA Tour in that it features three rounds instead of four, uses shotgun starts instead of traditional staggered starts and has no cuts. Two weeks ago, LIV announced a television contract with the CW Network, which will provide coverage of the second and third rounds.
LIV golfers do not receive points in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), which is used to determine the field for the major tournaments — the Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open and British Open — not operated by the PGA Tour. LIV applied for OWGR recognition in July, but the organization has yet to issue a ruling. Some LIV golfers may qualify for majors based on their status as past champions or via qualifying events, but others will be shut out for as long as they’re unable to accrue OWGR points.