Donald Trump continues to show his contempt for the PGA Tour after losing the only chance to host one of golf’s four major championships.
The former president teed off on the PGA Tour on his social media platform telling golfers to join the Saudi-financed LIV Golf Series.
In typical Trump retaliatory style, he told golfers to, “take the money now,” predicting the Tour would eventually merge with LIV Golf. Trump’s anger at professional golf stems from the PGA of America moving the 2022 PGA Championship out of his club in Bedminster, NJ, after the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection on the US Capitol.
“All of those golfers that remain ‘loyal’ to the very disloyal PGA, in all of its different forms, will pay a big price when the inevitable MERGER with LIV comes, and you get nothing but a big ‘thank you’ from PGA officials who are making millions of dollars a year,” Trump wrote on Truth Social Monday.
“If you don’t take the money now, you will get nothing after the merger takes place, and only say how smart the original signees were.”
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Greg Norman, the CEO of the LIV Golf Series, declined to comment on Trump’s post.
The 2022 PGA Championship was scheduled to be held at Bedminster but was moved to Southern Hills in Tulsa by the PGA of America after Trump supporters swarmed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, forcing Congress to go into lockdown as it was certifying the 2020 presidential election . Five police officers died as a result of the insurrection, which many believe was incited by Trump.
Trump, an avid golfer and fan who has played several rounds with Hall of Famers and legendary golfers at his courses in West Palm Beach and Jupiter, told Michael Bamberger of the Fire Pit Collective in May he was not watching this year’s PGA Championship, which was won by Jupiter’s Justin Thomas.
“I won’t be watching it, no,” Trump said. “I will not watch it. The only thing I like about it is that I love Oklahoma where, as you pointed out brilliantly, I have won 77 outta 77 counties. But I will not be watching it. No.”
Trump’s LIV Golf connection
So Trump’s next move on his personal Revenge Tour against the PGA: Align himself with LIV, which will stage two events at his properties. The next LIV event will be held at Bedminster, starting July 29. The season-finale of the 2022 LIV series is scheduled for Doral Oct. 27-30.
With LIV Golf expanding to 14 events next year, more Trump courses around the world could come into play.
Trump’s post was also timed for the day following a letter sent to Trump by 9/11 survivors and family members urging him to cancel next week’s event.
The group, 9/11 Justice, said they felt “extreme pain, frustration and anger” over Trump offering his club for LIV’s event and cited his comments from a 2016 interview in which Trump said it was Saudi “who blew up the World Trade Center .”
“We simply cannot understand how you could agree to accept money from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s golf league to host their tournament at your golf course, and to do so in the shadows of Ground Zero in New Jersey, which lost over 700 residents during the attacks,” the group wrote in its letter.
“It is difficult for us to fully express the extreme pain, frustration and anger this upcoming tournament at Bedminster causes our community. … It is incomprehensible to us that a former President of the United States would cast our loved ones aside for personal finances gain.”
A letter was also sent to President Joe Biden before his trip to Saudi Arabia last week, demanding that the president hold the Saudi government accountable for the attacks.
The same group held a protest a short distance from LIV’s last event outside of Portland, Ore. The group plans a larger protest at Bedminster.
“Every tournament you’re going to have to deal with us in bigger numbers,” said Brett Eagleson, whose father, Bruce, died at the World Trade Center. “For every tournament that is on US soil. This is an attack just like they attacked us on American soil.”
Of the 19 people involved in the 9/11 attacks, 15 were citizens of Saudi Arabia.
Several PGA Tour members have defected to LIV golf, some for signing bonuses in excess of $100 million, including Phil Mickelson (reported $200 million) and Jupiter’s Dustin Johnson (reported $125 million).
Norman told the Palm Beach Post last week the series is set to sign another group of players this week. That speculation is centered around Aussie Cameron Smith, who on Sunday won the Open Championship, and several others ranked in the top 100 in the world. Reports have Smith being offered from $90 to $130 million to join LIV after his historic win at St. Andrews.
Insurrection costs Trump a major
The 2022 PGA Championship was going to be the first men’s major played on a Trump property. But after watching Trump stoke his supporters and the ensuing riot at the Capitol, the decision was made to move the event.
Trump received another rebuke on that same day when the chief executive of The R&A, which runs The Open, said the organization had no plans to stage any championships at Trump’s Turnberry property in Scotland, and will not do so in the foreseeable future. Trump instructed his British ambassador to work on trying to secure an Open at Turnberry.
The PGA and the Trump Organization announced a settlement in December over the decision to move the 2022 championship. The terms of the settlement were not released.
Bedminster hosted the US Women’s Open in 2017.
Tom D’Angelo is a journalist at the Palm Beach Post. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.