It seems that the Saudi Golf League is collapsing under its own controversy, thanks to a lack of support from key players. According to Jack Nicklaus, there shouldn’t have been any support for it in the first place.
The PGA Tour remains not only popular with Nicklaus, but with millions of fans around the world. These fans have been treated to tournament after tournament, year after year of great players like Nicklaus showing them how the game should be played. It’s provided some great opportunisms for punters too. Betting opportunities have increased, thanks to the Internet, as has online gambling, in general, such as fantasy sports, a jackpot games casino or two, or the chance to play the lottery online. But will the loyalty of Nicklaus and the passion of the fans be enough?
More Players Unhappy with Potential new League
Nicklaus isn’t the only player who has expressed negative sentiments concerning the league. A number of other stars of the game have also dealt body blows, including Bryson DeChambeau, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, and Jon Rahm.
They each pledged their allegiance to the PGA Tour, as has Brooke Koepka, Rory Mcllroy, and Tiger Woods. Xander Schauffele can now also be added to the list. The American recently Tweeted that his belief in the PGA remains strong, particularly with regards to overall transparency and shared intellectual property rights.
Mickelson Fights for Media Rights
One player open to the new league is Phil Mickelson. He was critical of the PGA Tour and saw why players would be interested in exploring other opportunities. Mickelson said that the rival tour would be nixed if the PGA Tour gave up its media rights and returned them to the players. However, after he tried to justify collaborating with a country known for human rights violations, he was forced to apologise in the face of fierce backlash.
Mickelson has been linked with the rival tour for some time. In fact, it’s been recruiting players for a few years. In October, Greg Norman emerged as LIV Gold Investments CEO. The Saudi-backed company is looking to establish a super league with large guaranteed payouts, huge purses, a team concept, and 54-hole, no-cut tournaments. According to the Daily Mail, Bryson DeChambeau was offered over $100 million to join the league.
Nicklaus Defends PGA at Honda Classic Event
While Jack Nicklaus might disagree with pro golfers jumping ship to the new league, he might be more concerned with the idea of leaving the PGA, as opposed to working with Saudi. The PGA Tour legend recently spoke at an event ahead of the Honda Classic when he defended the PGA, pointing out the huge amounts of money it’s brought to communities, as well as the great television and competition it’s provided.
It was only a year ago, however, when Nicklaus expressed excitement over signing on to design a new golf course close to the Saudi capital of Riyadh. At the time, he voiced his excitement over the project and it being his first golf course design in the Middle East. He also said in the press release that he was honoured at being among the first designers to work in the Kingdom.
While Nicklaus continues to work on designing his Saudi Arabian course, his friend Donald Trump’s own golf properties might host events for the new, controversial pro tour. It was reported by the Washington Post that the former president could host multiple tournaments for the league. The move would see Trump secure a lucrative collaboration with an oppressive regime – one he defended while he was in office.