Donald Trump Declares LIV Golf ‘A Great Thing For Saudi Arabia’

The former US President has spoken of the boost the Series has given to the country backing it

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a ‘Save America’ rally in support of Arizona GOP candidates in July 2022
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Donald Trump has thinks the LIV Golf Invitational Series has already been worth the equivalent of billions of dollars in publicity for Saudi Arabia, the country funding the venture.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab), Trump said: “I think LIV has been a great thing for Saudi Arabia, for the image of Saudi Arabia. I think it’s going to be an incredible investment from that standpoint, and that’s more valuable than lots of other things because you can’t buy that - even with billions of dollars.” 

Video: What Is LIV Golf?

There have long been allegations that the country is using the Series to sportswash both its human rights record and the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman refutes that claim, insisting that the Series exists to grow the game. However, he courted controversy in May when, on the subject of the Khashoggi incident, he appeared to downplay it, saying: “We all make mistakes.”

One of Trump’s courses, in Bedminster, New Jersey, hosts the third tournament in the Series this week, while another, Florida’s Trump National Doral hosts the Team Championship finale in late October. His association with the Series has drawn controversy from the advocacy group 9/11 Justice, which stated it felt "deep pain and anger" at his decision to host the events considering the Saudi links with the September 11 attacks, which involved 15 Saudi hijackers.

Trump told the Wall Street Journal that while he understands the 9/11 families’ feelings he doesn’t know much about their cause. Meanwhile, on the subject of Khashoggi’s death, he said the controversy surrounding it has “totally died down.” 

It’s far from the first time Trump has sought to defend the Series. After the 150th Open Championship, he urged players to 'take the money' and join LIV Golf via his Truth Social network. He said: "All of those golfers that remain 'loyal' to the very disloyal PGA [Tour], 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. 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”

The third event in the Series at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster is expected to draw similar protests to those seen at Pumpkin Ridge before the second tournament. The tournament gets under way on Thursday 28 July.

Mike Hall
Mike Hall

Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. 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.