Nature

the LIV Tour, or the “aberration” of Saudi petrodollars


EDITORIAL

Saudi Arabia is investing even more in the world of sport by planning the LIV Tour, a golf circuit whose second leg takes place on Thursday June 30 in Portland, in the United States. For the Europe 1 sports columnist, Virginie Phulpin, the hushed world of golf is tarnished by the influence of petrodollars, an “aberration” that we have only seen so far in football.

“Before, when we equipped with the green color in golf, we saw before our eyes magnificent greens on which the clubs of gentlemen attached to traditions were swinging. From now on, green is rather the color of the tickets that Arabia can distribute like hot cakes to take power by crushing the others in the process. Do you know soft power? The use of sport by countries that want to polish their image while diversifying their sources of income. The Gulf countries are masters in this area. And Saudi Arabia, slower than Qatar at the start, has put an impressive boost in recent years: a Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Dakar, the takeover of the English football club Newcastle, and now the LIV Round.

Many golfers with the LIV tour

It created this golf circuit from scratch to compete directly with the PGA, the historic circuit. And the Saudis have not done in the lace. It’s not the greens they water, it’s the golfers. Inevitably, when you offer Phil Mickelson, one of the big names in golf, the trifle of 200 million dollars so that he can participate in the 2nd stage of your glitzy tour in Portland, you suffer very few refusals.

Mickelson is not alone, many top 100 golfers have followed. They are attached to traditions, but it depends on how much you give for them to trample them. I’m ironic, but it’s hard to blame them. How can you say no to such sums? The problem is that it could be offered to them, that a circuit be created on the sole basis of petrodollars.

A deleterious atmosphere in world golf

There are bird names flying around, golfers who have been sensitive to the lure of profit are called traitors. The PGA, the American tour, even excluded from its circuit the culprits. The European circuit has also taken sanctions, fines and a ban on participating in certain events. As much, we are used to football for example, of these settling of accounts between enemies, we had an example with the inventors of the Superleague and UEFA. But in golf, this kind of atmosphere is less common.

That said, this much maligned LIV Tour can also bring good surprises. The European and American circuits unite against the enemy. Yesterday they signed a new partnership until 2035. They collaborate, they invent bridges between Europe and the United States so that the tournaments are more enticing. It was not the goal of Saudi Arabia, but its circuit paved with dollars more than good intentions will perhaps wake up the European and American sleeping beauties.


Fr

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