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LIV Golf Invitational Series: It’s all about money, money, money, says Sky Sports Jamie Weir |  Golf News


Sky Sports’ Jamie Weir: ‘Let’s be clear; there is one motive and one motive only for these players choosing to play Series LIV and cut ties with the PGA Tour: Money’

Last update: 06/22/07 9:17 p.m.

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Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen had to answer some tough questions at the press conference for the LIV Tour opening event

Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen had to answer some tough questions at the press conference for the LIV Tour opening event

The LIV Golf Invitational series is a “motley bunch of struggling players, ex-statesmen, journeymen and a few big names”, according to Sky Sports’ Jamie Weir.

“After months of speculation, bashing, wild promises that were sketchy on the details and serious doubts as to whether it would even happen at all – here we are, on the eve of a ball finally hit on the highly controversial and controversial, Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series.

“This week at the Centurion Club in Hertfordshire, 48 players – divided into twelve teams of four – will compete over just 54 holes for a total purse of $25 million. The individual winner will take home $4 million, with the player finishing 48th and died the last to win $120,000 for his three days of work. $5 million of the $25 million overall pot is reserved for the team element of the tournament.

LIV Golf Invitational Series: It’s all about money, money, money, says Sky Sports Jamie Weir |  Golf News

“The Great White Shark” Greg Norman is the CEO of LIV Golf

“The champ is a motley group of players struggling outside the world’s top 100, young pros and amateurs making their way in the game, older statesmen of the game whose careers are on a downward trajectory, fellow Asians and DP World Tour plus a few “big names” including six-time major champion Phil Mickelson, who is making his return to competitive golf after four months in self-imposed exile.

LIV Golf Invitational Series: It’s all about money, money, money, says Sky Sports Jamie Weir |  Golf News

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Martin Kaymer admits the extra money he’ll earn from starring in the LIV series helps, but insists it’s not the only reason to join the tour

Martin Kaymer admits the extra money he’ll earn from starring in the LIV series helps, but insists it’s not the only reason to join the tour

“Tuesday’s press conferences were fascinating. They began with a trio of great champions – Dustin Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen and Graeme McDowell – all justifying their decision to play based on the fact that this is a new, different and exciting format that will appeal to a different audience in golf.Many of them also used the now all too familiar mantra of ‘grow the game’, three words that drew audible groans from the media gathered.

“Let’s be clear; there is one motive and one motive only for these players who choose to play the LIV series and cut ties with the PGA Tour: money. When I told them it was not certainly not of a revolutionary format, but above all about the tantalizing sums of cold hard cash on offer, they ended up admitting that was their motivation.

“When asked about Saudi Arabia’s brutal human rights record and its attitude towards women and gay people – a question they surely expected – there was a initial reluctance to respond, before McDowell stepped in to respond on behalf of the band with the now familiar refrain “we’re not politicians, we’re professional golfers.” Oosthuizen and Johnson simply nodded wisely.

“In a subsequent press conference featuring Americans Kevin Na and Talor Gooch, who other than Johnson and Oosthuizen are the only other players in the world’s top 50 competing this week, the same question was again raised. Gooch’s response to whether he felt like he was actively participating in sportswashing was, “I don’t think that’s fair. I am a golfer. I’m not that smart. I’m trying to hit a golf ball into a small hole. Golf is hard enough already. I’m trying to worry about golf, and I’m excited about this week”.

“It’s amazing that Gooch had weeks to anticipate this question and have an answer prepared, and yet it was the best he could come up with.

LIV Golf Invitational Series: It’s all about money, money, money, says Sky Sports Jamie Weir |  Golf News

“Yesterday’s announcement that Jessie J will be headlining Saturday night’s ‘after golf’ concert. Her biggest hit is of course ‘Price Tag’, which begins with the lines ‘Looks like everyone has a prize, I wonder how they sleep at night'”

Jaime Weir

“Six players have now ‘resigned’ from the PGA Tour to show their allegiance to the LIV series; Na, Johnson, Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Branden Grace and Sergio García. Others – McDowell and Gooch included – have yet to take the drastic step to forfeit their PGA Tour membership altogether, opting instead to wait and see what possible penalties they face for doing so on Thursday.

“Na in particular passionately defended the breakaway league, proclaiming himself a pioneer, there for the start of an exciting innovation that would change the face of golf. When he and Gooch were asked about losing any chance to represent the United States- United at the Ryder Cup, they both responded that they didn’t think it would come to this; that the PGA of America would be forced to back down on its decision to ineligible those leaving for LIV.

“European Ryder Cup stalwarts such as García, McDowell, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer – all on the pitch this week – are in a similar position. The DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour) has kept its pretty dry powder when it comes to repercussions for defectors, but it’s assumed that taking the Saudi money and joining a series that poses an existential threat to the DP World Tour will surely lead to chances of playing in a Ryder Cup or becoming a future Ryder Cup captain being sacrificed.

LIV Golf Invitational Series: It’s all about money, money, money, says Sky Sports Jamie Weir |  Golf News

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Former pro golfer Wayne Riley thinks the LIV Golf Tour is bad for the sport, but doesn’t blame the players for joining the tour

Former pro golfer Wayne Riley thinks the LIV Golf Tour is bad for the sport, but doesn’t blame the players for joining the tour

LIV Golf Invitational Series: It’s all about money, money, money, says Sky Sports Jamie Weir |  Golf News

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Rich Beem thinks more players are likely to take part in the next six Saudi Golf League events because of the money they could earn

Rich Beem thinks more players are likely to take part in the next six Saudi Golf League events because of the money they could earn

“There’s certainly hope among the players that doesn’t have to be the case. They seem determined to have their cake and eat it.

“As a golf journalist, this story has been incredible to cover, with new twists weekly – often daily. From a very public and increasingly bitter war of words between PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and Chief of LIV Golf’s Greg Norman., to Rory McIlroy’s gutting of Phil Mickelson, calling him “naive, selfish, egotistical and ignorant. From Dustin Johnson’s pledge of allegiance to the PGA Tour a few months ago to his explosive U-turn last week.

LIV Golf Invitational Series: It’s all about money, money, money, says Sky Sports Jamie Weir |  Golf News

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There was a bizarre moment during Tuesday’s LIV series press conference when a reporter was denied a question for golfer Kevin Na

There was a bizarre moment during Tuesday’s LIV series press conference when a reporter was denied a question for golfer Kevin Na

“There were moments almost beyond parody; Norman declaring that ‘everyone makes mistakes’ when asked about the brutal Saudi killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi; a frankly embarrassing last weekend when attendees uploaded videos to their social media accounts giving away unlimited free tickets to this week’s event, such is the lack of public interest yesterday’s announcement that Jessie J will be the headliner for Saturday night’s “after golf” concert. His biggest hit is of course “Price Tag”, which begins with the lines “Seems like everyone has a price, I wonder how they sleep at night”.

“It seems clear that it is indeed about money, money, money. And on Wednesday we will see Mickelson face the media for the first time in months. There are bound to be some interesting questions and even more intriguing answers.The world of golf is eagerly awaiting what one of the greatest players of all time – and the poster boy for the threatening move to drive a wedge into the game as we know it – has to say. “




Sky Sports

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