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After the conclusion of the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews, former US President Donald Trump has urged players to "take the money" and join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series amid ongoing speculation that more players are set to join the breakaway circuit.
"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," Trump said on his Truth Social network.
"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," he added.
The Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey, will host the LIV Golf Series event next week, whilst the Series finale will take place at Trump National Doral in Miami in October.
The Saudi-backed venture continues to receive widespread criticism with players accused of sportswashing human rights atrocities within the Kingdom. The advocacy group 9/11 Justice said it felt "deep pain and anger" at Trump's decision to host events at his properties as well as his continued endorsement of the Series given Saudi Arabia's links with the September 11 attacks - 15 of the 19 hijackers involved in the tragedy were Saudi nationals.
"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 said in its open 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 financial gain."
Trump is yet to respond to the open letter.
The former Leader of the Free World, who is expected to announce a 2024 Presidential bid, has given his endorsement of the Saudi-backed venture whilst the likes of Rob Lee and Rich Beem recently condemned Henrik Stenson following reports that he will be the latest figure to join the controversial Series.
"If he goes to LIV he seals his own future," said Lee. "He had an agreement with the Tour that he was going to be there guy, all the way through the captaincy and through the Ryder Cup next year. If he reneges on that and does something else then that's the end of that. So, he's kind of decided his own fate.
"There's lots of good things for Henrik Stenson and he's kind of just flushing it all down the toilet now with his U turn, in terms of his commitment to the DP World. The Ryder Cup is bigger than Henrik Stenson and the Ryder Cup is bigger than individuals."
Beem added: "For him to take the captaincy and then join LIV, that's disappointing. I've known Henrik for years and years, it just seems a bit disrespectful. That great tournament they have in the Ryder Cup, I just think that, you get the captaincy and it doesn't get much better than that."
Stenson is said to be meeting with Ryder Cup officials amid reports that he will be stripped of the captaincy should he join LIV Golf.
James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.
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