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The build-up to the LIV Golf Invitational Series has reportedly been dealt a blow with the withdrawal of the London venue booked to host its lavish launch party.
According to a report from The Telegraph’s Golf Correspondent James Corrigan (opens in new tab), Alexandra Palace, which was earmarked to host the event on 7 June just two nights before the first tournament, will no longer do so. The news comes in the wake of comments made two weeks ago about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the CEO of the Saudi-backed start-up, Greg Norman.
On the subject of the 2018 state-sanctioned murder, Norman said: “We all make mistakes,” which drew criticism from Amnesty International. Later, LIV responded to the remarks with a statement to Golf Monthly, which described the killing as “reprehensible.”
Nevertheless, the fallout appears to be continuing with the decision to withdraw the 149-year-old venue’s services for the launch party. The event had been expected to include appearances from the tournament’s players with a view to them taking part in a draw to determine the make-up of the 12 four-man teams.
Tickets for the party had been on sale on the LIV website for $1,500 (£1,200), with other perks thought to include gourmet cuisine, free drinks and entertainment such as DJs. However, according to the report, those plans will now need to be revised. A spokesperson told the newspaper: “I can confirm that the LIV Golf Series draw event is not taking place at our venue. We have a high number of organisations get in touch about holding potential events with us, but for commercial reasons we do not discuss details of these enquiries.”
The news will come as a further blow to LIV Golf days after its Chief Commercial Officer Sean Bratches resigned in the wake of Norman’s comments. A source told newspaper: “This was meant to be the grand curtain-raiser and Ally Pally was thought to be the perfect venue, what with all its history and its reputation. Another kick in the teeth after Sean leaving.”
While we await news on where - or even if - the planned launch party will take place, the series itself draws ever closer. Confirmation of the players taking part is expected in the coming days for a competition whose first $25m tournament begins on 9 June at the Centurion Club near London. There will then be seven more tournaments, culminating in the $50m Team Championship at Florida’s Trump National Doral, taking place between 27 and 30 October.
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.
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