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What we know: Latest updates surrounding the Saudi Arabia-backed rival golf league


The landscape of men’s professional golf may be changing right before our very eyes.

After years of 72-hole stroke-play tournaments with four majors sprinkled throughout the schedule, golf fans may soon have a new option with a rival golf league making noise once again.

Multiple people confirmed to Golfweek that a private meeting of golf media members took place on Wednesday in New York City to outline plans for a Saudi Arabia-backed golf series. Two-time major champion Greg Norman is expected to be announced as the frontman for the new circuit.

Here’s what we know about the situation with the Saudis.

Professional golf in Saudi Arabia

The first professional golf event in Saudi Arabia — the Saudi International — was held in 2019 as a European Tour event, just months after the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The event has been criticized as a targeted attempt by the Saudi government to “sportswash” its controversial human rights record and improve its image.

Greg Norman watches play on the 18th green during the QBE Shootout in December 2020.

Greg Norman watches play on the 18th green during the QBE Shootout in December 2020. (Photo: Chris Tilley, USA TODAY Sports)

A handful of big names have made the trip to play over the years, including two-time champion Dustin Johnson (2019, 2021). Major champions like Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka have also been paid to play the event. After the 2020 tournament, the Saudi International moved from the European Tour to the Asian Tour schedule for 2021.

Because of this, Golfweek learned in July that the PGA Tour would refuse to allow players to compete in the controversial tournament in 2022. Tour members must obtain a waiver to compete on other circuits and, because the Saudi event is no longer sanctioned by the European Tour, the PGA Tour noted to managers that permission would no longer be granted.

That said, last week eight players asked for permission to play in the tournament, scheduled Feb. 3-6 at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City: Johnson, 2020 winner Graeme McDowell, Abraham Ancer, Lee Westwood, Tommy Fleetwood, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Na and Jason Kokrak (who is sponsored by Golf Saudi).

What will the new league look like?

While the official format is still unknown, two different variations of a rival league with Saudi ties — the Premier Golf League and Super Golf League — have been pitched over the last year and a half. One plan featured 40-48 players on teams of four with a captain playing an 18-event schedule all over the world with a season-ending team championship.

Which players may be involved?

Phil Mickelson’s involvement dates back to the 2020 Saudi International pro-am, where Lefty reportedly played alongside Premier Golf League representatives.

In July 2020, the Guardian reported that the league had sent formal offer letters worth “hundreds of millions of dollars” to a handful of players including Mickelson, Adam Scott, Stenson, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Paul Casey and Koepka.

Almost a year later on May 4, 2021, a report in the Telegraph stated that multi-million dollar offers, some ranging from $30-50 million, were sent to Mickelson, Johnson, Scott, Koepka, DeChambeau, Fowler and Rose. That same month, player managers and agents met with the league’s backers on the Tuesday night before the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah, won by Mickelson.

Previous reactions

Rory McIlroy was the first big name to denounce the Premier Golf League with his, “For me, I’m out,” quote in Feb. 2020. A month later he would be joined by Jon Rahm and Koepka. At that time, the players were all ranked inside the top-three in the world.

In May of 2021 after the news of the $30-50 million offers, McIlroy doubled down, saying, “I don’t see why anyone would be for (the new league).” The PGA Tour — which created a “strategic alliance” with the European Tour to combat any rival leagues — has been steadfast in its stance. In a meeting with players that same month, commissioner Jay Monahan drew a line in the sand with multiple sources telling Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch that leaving the Tour for the new league would result in an immediate suspension from the PGA Tour and likely a lifetime ban.

On top of that, PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh said PGA Tour defectors would be barred from competing in the biennial Ryder Cup against Europe.

“If someone wants to play on a Ryder Cup for the U.S., they’re going to need to be a member of the PGA of America, and they get that membership through being a member of the Tour,” Waugh said in May. “I believe the Europeans feel the same way, and so I don’t know that we can be more clear kind of than that. We don’t see that changing.”

In a direct response to the Premier Golf League, the PGA Tour also created the Player Impact Program, a $40 million bonus pool designed to compensate players who drive fan and sponsor engagement. At the end of this year, the money will be distributed to 10 players, with the player deemed most valuable receiving $8 million.

Why Greg Norman?

This isn’t the Shark’s first time wading into the waters of a rival golf league.

Norman, the two-time major champion and World Golf Hall of Famer who won 20 times on the PGA Tour and 14 times on the European Tour, attempted to get the World Golf Tour off the ground in 1994, but was unsuccessful. The two-time British Open champion’s play was rejected by then-Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who announced the World Golf Championships three years later in 1997.

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Source: What we know: Latest updates surrounding the Saudi Arabia-backed rival golf league

The fate of a 'McMafia' investigation into Trump's Scottish golf course rests on the decision of a judge that could come at any time


Getty

  • Campaigners want Scotland a probe into how Donald Trump paid for a luxury golf resort in Scotland.

  • Scotland says it doesn't have the power to start such an investigation - campaigners disagree.

  • A judge this week held a hearing to determine which party is right.

  • A judge deciding the fate of a potential investigation into how Donald Trump came to purchase a luxury golf course in Scotland using $60 million in cash under circumstances that campaigners have described as suspicious.

    The campaign group Avaaz has asked Scottish authorities to investigate Trump's $60 million purchase of Turnberry using a so-called "unexplained wealth order," (UWO) saying there was a "towering cloud of suspicion" over the transaction.

    When the government demurred, Avaaz launched a legal case that was heard this week at the Court of Session in Edinburgh by Craig Sandison, a senior Scottish judge.

    In the case, Avaaz argued that the government has the authority to launch the investigation, and government lawyers argued that it did not. There is no specific deadline for Sandison's decision.

    UWOs allow UK authorities to investigate any foreign figures who they believe may have laundered money through the UK.

    Avaaz believes that Trump's purchase of Turnberry in 2014 is suspicious because he had much of spent his career funding his expansive property with the use of huge loans, before paying $60 million in cash for Turnberry.

    James Dodson, a golf journalist, previously said that Eric Trump, a director of Turnberry, told him in 2014 that the Trump Organization had "all the funding we need out of Russia," a claim Eric has dismissed as "completely fabricated."

    Scotland's government has rejected calls for an investigation, insisting it does not have the power to initiate such probes in the first place, prompting the suit by Avaaz.

    A representative for Avaaz told Insider that ruling's like Sandison's typically take three months to arrive. Although there is no time limit, the group hopes for a resolution by Christmas.

    Story continues

    The hearing is significant because its outcome could play a large part in deciding whether Scotland's government chooses to pursue an investigation against Trump.

    The government has so far shown little interest in doing so and argued that only the Lord Advocate, Scotland's most senior law officer and its chief legal adviser - who is politically independent - can initiate one.

    But Aidan O'Neill, the lawyer for Avaaz, this week argued that Scottish ministers unlawfully ducked the decision, arguing that the law obliges Scottish ministers to seek appropriate UWOs.

    Avaaz also argued that it was unlawful for Scotland's government to decline to state publicly whether it wanted to pursue an investigation, a position it has left ambiguous so far.

    Ruth Crawford, the lawyer for the Scottish government, contested Avaaz's claims and said that the Lord Advocate could make that decision in her capacity as a Scottish minister. The Lord Advocate is technically a minister but acts independently, unlike others.

    Crawford also said that there was "nothing impermissible" about ministers "keeping schtum" about their position on pursuing an order, The Scotsman reported.

    Read the original article on Business Insider


    Source: The fate of a 'McMafia' investigation into Trump's Scottish golf course rests on the decision of a judge that could come at any time

    Carey Family Foundation celebrates annual celebrity golf tourney


    Former University of Miami and Miami Dolphins standout offensive lineman Vernon Carey and a star-studded cast of professional athletes hit the links for the 12th annual Celebrity Golf Tournament to raise money for the Carey Family Foundation.

    The event took place at the Club at Weston Hills with over 120 participants and sponsors who had the opportunity to golf with over 20 professional athletes including Vernon Carey, Mike Pouncey, Fred Taylor, Channing Crowder, Kendall Langford, Jason Taylor, Daunte Culpepper, Nate Garner, Phillip Wheeler and Duane Starks.

    The tournament was able to continue last October despite the COVID-19 situation with some restrictions. This year’s 12th annual event was a sign of some return to normalcy as an awards luncheon followed the golf tournament.

    Bragging rights and first-place awards went to the Bacardi foursome team of Ryan Bibbo, Wyman Fredrick, Steve Bingaman and Pete Carr who accomplished a low score of 58.

    The championship foursome of Ryan Bibbo, celebrity Wyman Frederick, Steve Bingaman and Pete Carr from Bacardi USA celebrate a winning low score of 58 at the 12th annual Carey Family Foundation Celebrity Golf Tournament. (Carey Family Foundation/Courtesy)

    The Carey Family Foundation (formerly known as the Vernon Carey Foundation) has evolved over the years to become a family enterprise. Members of the Carey Family Foundation include Vernon Carey Sr. and his wife LaTavia Carey, Vernon Carey, Jr. who plays for the Charlotte Hornets, Jaylen Carey, Taelynn Carey and Dynver Carey.

    The foundation is committed to the South Florida community and has created programs that continue to support and encourage the development and enhance the future of youth. These programs focus on educational and recreational development and economic opportunities.

    There is always a lot of fun on the links, but the Carey Family Foundation has become more than just a golf tournament. This past summer, the foundation established the Reading is Everything Program that benefited the Carver Ranches Unit of the Boys & Girls Club of Broward County.

    It was all hands on deck for the Carey family as Vernon and his wife LaTavia would read to the children and encourage them with awards. The summer concluded with the foundation hosting a pizza and ice cream party with prizes and giveaways. In preparation for the school year, children received Carey Family Foundation sling backpacks.

    The foundation continues to offer a variety of programs to children during the school year. Carey was quick to acknowledge all the support he has received from members of the South Florida community.

    Former Miami Hurricane and Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Vernon Carey addresses the golf participants at The Club at Weston Hills. (Carey Family Foundation/Courtesy)

    “My family and I are very thankful to our sponsors for their continued support each year to help us raise funds so we can grow the foundation and continue to give children and our community a vision of hope,” Vernon Carey Sr. said. “We started this fundraising event 12 years ago when we launched the foundation and look forward to growing it each year.”

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    Felix Williams has been on the foundation’s board since its inception and has been a valuable mentor to Vernon Carey throughout the years. He said he is proud to be associated with the foundation and all that has been accomplished.

    “This event means the world to me not only because I view Vernon as a son but because of the commitment he and LaTavia have made to helping improve our community at every level,” Williams said. “I am very proud of the family and I love them dearly”.

    Money raised from the tournament funds programs like One Step to a Brighter Future scholarships for Miami-Dade County Public Schools seniors at Miami Carol City, Miami Northwestern and Miami Central. There are also food distributions, Thanksgiving meal giveaways, charitable contributions to nonprofits, youth athletics and educational outlets.

    The upcoming fourth annual Father and Daughter Dance will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.


    Source: Carey Family Foundation celebrates annual celebrity golf tourney



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