Three golfers linked with the new Saudi League
The sport of golf seems to be undergoing some major changes in the next few months. The formation of the new Saudi Golf League threatens to disrupt the regular PGA Tour season, with some of the biggest names in the game seemingly receiving offers to play in the Middle East. While the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Bryson DeChambeau have reportedly been offered millions to batten down tools and leave the PGA, they’ve stayed loyal to the United States and declined, although others have certainly had their heads turned.
Despite much talk over the PGA Tour, it’s a shame that Lee Kyoung-hoon’s win in the AT&T Bryon Nelson was somewhat overshadowed by new names joining the Saudi League, as the South Korean beat Jordan Spieth and Sebastián Muñoz to victory in Texas.
With the return of The Open a couple of months away, those looking at golf betting will have a hard time picking a favourite for the St. Andrews-based tournament, and with so many players linked to Saudi Arabia, it will be interesting to see who else makes the move before mid-July. For now, lets take a look at some of the players we see committing their futures to the Saudi Golf League.
After confirming he will be present in the LIV Golf Invitational Series, Lee Westwood came under scrutiny but appeared to be unphased ahead of his trip to the Middle East. The former world number one, who knocked Tiger Woods off his perch during the peak of his powers, has said the country is trying to change its reputation before teeing up at the Centurion Club.
“I think Saudi Arabia obviously knows they’ve got issues,” he said. I think lots of countries around the world have got issues and I think they’re trying to improve. They’re trying to do it through sport, which a lot of places, a lot of countries do.”
The fate of Phil Mickelson looks to be hanging perilously in the balance, but one thing is for sure, he won’t be representing the PGA anytime soon. It’s still hard to believe it’s already been a year since the American orchestrated a memorable victory when he won the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, at age 50 becoming the oldest champion in history. Now though, he has been called ‘greedy’ since his hiatus away from the course, which last saw him play in the Saudi International back in February. Having not been granted any release by the PGA, it’s unlikely Mickelson will take part this year, paving the way to the Middle East.
It looked as though the Wells Fargo Championship was the last straw for Sergio Garcia. It’s looking more and more likely that he will cut ties with the PGA after expressing his discontent in a furious rant on the 10th hole of the tournament’s opening round. The Spaniard ran out of time to retrieve a missing ball from the long grass, and proceeded to rant following his penalty. He said: “I can’t wait to leave this tour… just a couple more weeks until I don’t have to deal with you anymore.”