Donald Trump on Thursday again praised Saudi Arabia-backed golf company LIV, which is in the midst of a political and legal battle with the PGA Tour and other US golf interests.
The former president’s Doral club in South Florida is hosting LIV events this week.
“It’s big time and it’s big time money. It’s unlimited money. They love golf and the Saudis have done a fantastic job,” Trump said after a pro-am round, according to the Golf Channel. “It’s different, the enthusiasm.” He also criticized the PGA Tour.
The former president has hosted PGA Tour tournaments in the past, but the Tour pulled the event from its Trump National Doral Miami course in 2017 and pulled the 2022 PGA Championship from Trump Bedminster in New Jersey after the 6th Capitol riot. January 2021.
Now, LIV Golf, backed by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, has moved into Trump properties. The deep-pocketed league hosted a tournament at Trump Bedminster in July, despite condemnation from the families of the 9/11 victims, and will host its championship at Trump National Doral Miami starting Friday.
Trump’s connection to Saudi Arabia goes beyond his admiration and business relationship with LIV Golf. As president, he said the US was behind the Kingdom despite the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was a critic of the Saudi royal family.
Meanwhile, Golfweek reported that LIV Golf leaned on Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law whose investment firm raised hundreds of millions of dollars in Saudi money, to secure a media deal with TBEN Sports through Kushner’s friend Lachlan Murdoch, who runs TBEN Corp. next to his father, Rupert. LIV has said reports of its search for media rights deals are “incomplete and inaccurate”.
LIV Golf has been fighting to compete with the PGA Tour even without a media deal. Huge contracts lured star players like Phil Mickelson, as the tour tried to respond with its own increased bonuses. The former president said more players will defect to LIV.
“A lot of other people come along. Big names, they come over. The galaxy is very important in sports. If you don’t have the galaxy, you won’t be successful,” Trump said. , who is considering running for president again as he faces a Justice Department criminal investigation over top-secret documents he took to his home in South Florida’s Mar-a-Lago.
The two leagues have exchanged lawsuits and launched lobbying against each other. Recently, a Justice Department antitrust investigation expanded the scope of the PGA Tour to Augusta National and the USGA, which oversee the major Masters and US Open tournaments, respectively.
Trump said he thinks the PGA Tour and LIV could work something out. He accused the tour of not working on a solution.
“Something could have been worked out so easily,” Trump said, “but the Tour decided, as Richard Nixon said, to hold it back.”
The PGA Tour declined to comment. LIV Golf did not immediately return a request for comment.