“Golf-The Morning After”
It started badly, who knows how ugly it will get, but it is for sure, this war is not over.
The Saudi Super League launched in London, England, with its 48-man field, with all guaranteed money to the players, good or bad.
It started without a TV contract.
It started with hardly any fans in the grand stands.
It started with the threat of an ati-trust lawsuit against the PGA Tour.
It started with an angry exchange of questions from a hostile media.
Charl Schwartzel won the first rooney and collected 4.5M in record earnings for him
Dustin Johnson shot 1-under par but was never really in the hunt.
Phil Mickelson, who hadn’t played well in a year, was awful. His 200M-guaranteed deal not withstanding, he finished at 10-over par, finished 33rd. He has his money but no game right now.
Each of these players now has to deal with the term ‘sports washing’, about taking money from a country that has a history of human rights violations.
You should look up the Said treatment of women, gays, 9/11 and the death of a Washington Post reporter in the Middle East.
The players said they joined for the opportunity to play for big money, to be treated better than they were on the PGA Tour.
None wanted to talk about the history of Said oppression, but the hostilw media did.
One asked Lee Westwood if he’d take money this week if Vladimir Putin wanted to put on a tournament.
The PGA reacted in harsh fashion, announcing 30-minutes after Mickelson teed off on Thursday, all 17-players playing in London were suspended from all PGA tour events, including the Ryder Cup and President’s Cup tourneys, where you play for the flag.
Because the USGA runs the US Open, the European tour runs the British Open, and Augusta runs the Masters, the suspended would still be eligible to play there.
Greg Norman, leader of the LIV league, said his group would file anti-trust charges against the PGA, calling it an illegal monopoly..
Most of the players revoked their Tour Cards in turning their back on a place where they all made great money. Mickelson, who received a 200M guaranteed bonus, and Johnson, who got 125M in guarantees refused to answer questions about the PGA sanctions. By the way, the mean spirited PGA allowed Mickelson to make 93M in his career, DJ earned 72M
Mickelson did talk about his exile from the Pro Tour, his gambling problems and the therapy he has been involved in.
Sunday came and 3-more players jumped ship, the always outspoken Bryson DeChambeau, the fiery Patrick Reed, and San Diego journeyman Pat Perez.
And rumors now that Monday is upon us, Ricky Fowler may change his mind and go too.
The PGA does have an issue. In the past, they allowed players to get 3-exemptions a year to play abroad during the PGA season, if those players were in 15-PGA events that year. So they may have a problem in any litigation based on that lawsuit, ruling different on this group than on others who asked for waivers.
But 6-of the Saudi tourneys are in the States at Donald Trump courses and those waivers were for just foreign events.
Stay tuned for upcoming Judge Judy shows.
Critics are everywhere from Rory McIlroy to Justin Thomas and to Tiger Woods.
It’s ugly to lose these marquee names. It hurst the PGA Tour.
Do players have a right to seek the best paydays possible?
Is there any guilt being linked to Sports washing of Saudii dollars?
What would you have done?
Bad times in golf for sure, a sport that brought us all the global legends to our links. From Byron Nelson to Jack Nicklaus to Arnie Palmer, to Tiger to Phil and so many others,
Lefty and DJ may forever be viewed differently from this day forward.