Charles Barkley Sticks Up For LIV Golf Players

The basketball legend joked he'd go to extreme lengths for the kind of money offered by the Saudi-backed Series

Charles Barkley tees off on the 15th hole of the 2020 American Century Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The LIV Golf Invitational Series is nothing if not divisive, with moral concerns over the Saudi-backed start-up offset by others who see it as an opportunity to grow the game. However, not many high-profile figures have been as honest as basketball legend-turned-sports analyst Charles Barkley in his support for the Series.

Speaking on the Pat McAfee Show on Friday, the 59-year-old TNT analyst fully supported the players who signed up for the lucrative Series and explained that he wants them to dominate the third Major of the year at The Country Club. He said: “I want all the LIV guys on top of the leaderboard. I want to see the PGA Tour shaking in their damn boots. Listen, I’m not a religious dude, but I want chaos this weekend at the US Open.”

It’s doubtful that Barkley will get his wish, with many LIV Golf players struggling to make an impact at the halfway mark and one of its most high-profile players, Phil Mickelson, admitting he wasn't as prepared as he needed to be after he missed the cut. Still, any other LIV players who disappoint at the US Open will have substantial – and in some cases – staggering money from the Greg Norman-fronted Series to cushion the blow. That's something Barkley joked he’d go to extreme lengths to secure if he had the chance. He said: “I don’t judge other people. Listen, if somebody gave me $200 million, I’d kill a relative. I’m serious. They’re saying Phil Mickelson got $200 million, Dustin Johnson got $150 million, for $150 million, I’d kill a relative, even one I like.”

Mickelson and Johnson were the highest-profile players in the opening event of the Series at London’s Centurion Club, but they’ll be joined by other big names, including Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed, at the second tournament in Portland, Oregon in less than two weeks. Meanwhile, even the relatively obscure Pat Perez has signed up for a reported $10 million.

Any PGA Tour player who joins the Series faces suspension, but judging by his comments, as far as Barkley is concerned, that's a sacrifice he'd be more than willing to make. 

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.