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19th Hole

Greg Norman creates storm by falsely claiming LPGA Tour is sponsored by Saudi Oil Company Aramco

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From the initial Mickelsongate to an interview that hasn’t happened yet, the golf world continues to analyze every press conference, email, and statement released by the LIV organization and the PGA and DP World Tours.

Much of the controversy surrounds the answers given to the question, “Why?”

At the start of the controversial LIV series, much of the furore surrounded players that jumped from the ‘Mother Ship’ (PGA/DP) to a tour run and funded via a company closely related to the Saudi Kingdom, one that has received worldwide condemnation for its human rights records.

Earlier press interviews were awkward, and at least one competitor, Graeme McDowell, has spoken about the way he has been treated by the wider golf public.

Reasons given for the departure to the rebel tour have been as ‘leverage’ against current playing/media conditions issued by the main tours, that there would be ‘more time to be spent with family’, even that the 54-hole shotgun start is a far more attractive proposition than the traditional 72-hole split tee-time.

LIV CEO Greg Norman has also often come to the microphone to say he doesn’t quite understand the mass anger at LIV and its paymasters, given that Saudi Arabia is very much involved with some of the biggest companies in the world and many other sporting competitions.

However, his recent comment in an interview with Fox News reporter Tucker Carlson has set the golf world alight, in particular those involved with the LPGA.

During the report, Norman again says he cannot understand the attitude of many against LIV itself, stating that:

“The @LPGA Tour is sponsored by Aramco.”

Carlson raises his eyebrows and asks, “Literally?” before Norman again confirms his belief saying “the largest sponsor of women’s golf in the world is Aramco.”

As can be seen by the reaction from LPGA player Brittany Lincicome, this has not gone down well.

A host of names have taken to social media to refute Norman’s statement, with Lincicome, Lisa Cornwell, ex-Golf Channel broadcaster, and Beth Ann Nichols, Golfweek senior writer, amongst those that were at pains to point out that Aramco are associated with the Ladies European Tour rather than the US version and only as sponsors.

In a similar way to the feeder link between the PGA and DP World tours, the LPGA has an association with the LET, supporting the tour in both a financial and stabilizing role. However, with the Aramco series a sponsored event, it is a far cry from being a direct employer, as with LIV.

Cornwell, who resigned from the Golf Channel amidst ‘mistreatment’ at the end of 2020, was at pains to ask:

“How can the CEO of  LIV Golf get this wrong? Good Lord…”

Much of Twitter golf were posting their views, with one user asking professional golfer Sarah Kemp, “Does Aramco sponsor the LPGA Tour? Yes or No?” and received the simple answer, “No.”

He then asks, “So your position is No, but how about the LPGA Tour players that play in their sponsored tournaments? It appears that they do sponsor golf and until LIV was involved, those players had no problems taking the money. Please explain.”

In a separate thread but counteracting that stance, golf podcast host John Ziegler pointed out:

“It’s sad that Tucker Carlson, who I really like & once worked for, apparently fell for this BS analogy. Having a sponsor who does business with, or is even part owned by the Saudis, is NOT the same thing as the Saudis themselves creating a fake golf tour as a political PR effort!”

In another tweet, Kemp explains her stance against the comment that any Saudi company is the largest sponsor in the ladies’ game:

“Aramco is also NOT the largest sponsor in women’s golf. The @CMEGroupLPGA, a solo-sponsored event, has a higher purse than all 6 Aramco events combined.”

Hugely respected journalist who covers women’s golf extensively, Beth Ann Nichols then weighed in saying:

“The six Aramco events are on the LET schedule, not the LPGA! And yes, the LPGA and LET united several years ago in a joint venture. They have a partnership. But those are not LPGA events.”

In the week of the Women’s British Open, somehow, the LIV organization has come to the fore of the golfing world again.

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  1. Met

    Aug 6, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    So the point of the article is the LPGA takes “Saudi money” but not as much as Norman said.

    Also, would love to see Jason explain why the PGA Tour has a moral high horse to sit on considering they happily ran a tour in China until it was stopped due to COVID (not some moral stance against human rights abuses)

  2. MrHogan

    Aug 6, 2022 at 7:32 am

    Imagine that, a journalist (propagandist) reporting on fake news. Keep up the good work Jason Daniels, CNN could use a great journalist such as yourself.

  3. Donn Rutkoff

    Aug 5, 2022 at 12:02 pm

    Can Lia Thomas compete in LPGA events?

  4. T-Bone

    Aug 5, 2022 at 11:39 am

    Aramco sponsors 6 Ladies European Tour events. The LET is a joint venture with the LPGA. Aramco IS a sponsor of the LPGA. Pretty simple for those who still understand English language definitions.

    • Chuck

      Aug 5, 2022 at 12:10 pm

      And Aramco is a publicly-traded company. With a public board of directors and worldwide shareholders.
      Aramco is qualitatively different from MBS’s Public Investment Fund.

  5. Pingback: Jessica Korda in contention at Women’s Open despite having to wear borrowed clothes! – GolfWRX

  6. CrashTestDummy

    Aug 4, 2022 at 11:22 pm

    Normand did get it incorrect. It is the Ladies European Tour that is in partnership with Aramco in producing the Aramco Series. However, many LPGA and LET players played the Aramco Series.

  7. Bruh, Come On

    Aug 4, 2022 at 4:16 pm

    I think those ladies don’t have all the info on the LPGA and LET sponsorship dealings and who the money comes from. You can say, “Oh no no no! It comes from here” but they really have no idea. Does anyone really believe that Brittany Lincicome’s dumba$$ knows the Financial Accounting data for the LPGA and the LET? Or where that money was sourced from? If you think that, I’ve got some oceanfront property to sell you in Arizona.

  8. Pingback: ‘Stay away in your fantasy land’ – Pro blasts LIV rebels over wanting to play PGA Tour events – GolfWRX

  9. Pingback: ‘Stay away in your fantasy land’ – Pro blasts LIV golfers over wanting to play PGA Tour events – GolfWRX

  10. Pingback: Bryson suspended for ‘talking to other Tour members about positive LIV experience’, lawsuit alleges – GolfWRX

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19th Hole

Augusta National chairman personally instructed players not to play LIV events, lawsuit claims

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More interesting information continues to surface from the 105-page lawsuit filed by the “LIV 11” on Wednesday.

According to the court documents, Augusta National Golf Club allegedly attempted to persuade golfers to not join LIV Golf.

“Augusta National, the promoter of The Masters, has taken multiple actions to indicate its alignment with the PGA Tour, thus seeding doubt among top professional golfers whether they would be banned from future Masters Tournaments,” the document states.

“As an initial matter, the links between the PGA Tour and Augusta National run deep. The actions by Augusta National indicate that the PGA Tour has used these channels to pressure Augusta National to do its bidding. For example, in February, 2022 Augusta National representatives threatened to disinvite players from The Masters if they joined LIV Golf.”

Greg Norman has consistently claimed that he’s attempted to reach out to Jay Monahan and ANGC Chairman Fred Ridley, but to no avail.

The lawsuit claims that the major championships has been a strong deterrent preventing players from joining LIV Golf.

“The threat of exlcusion from the Masters (and other majors) is a powerful weapon in the Tour’s arsenal to deter players from joining LIV Golf”.

While none of the majors have yet banned LIV players from playing in their events, they’ve spoken out in opposition to the breakaway golf league.

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19th Hole

Adam Hadwin made the wrong comment over his wife’s outfit…and he’s now paying the price

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World ranked number 84, Adam Hadwin, is well known in golf circles for having a lighter approach to the game.

The Canadian has a Twitter bio that reads, “living the dream a day at a time!” and often posts about his family life and honest views on his current game.

However, despite having 30,000 fewer followers on the social media site, his wife Jessica is the one making more noise with some of her posts over the last few months.

We’ve had a clip of daughter Maddox’s reaction to her father’s hole-in-one at the Memorial, and the hilarious tweet regarding flat packed furniture, just two days after his best-ever finish in a major — tied-seventh at the U.S. Open.

However, she may well have trumped the lot with the revelation of her husband’s reaction to her new outfit:

Jessica is also unimpressed with the reaction of Team Adam, tweeting, “The best part (or worst?) was he said it in front of two male employees who proceeded to absolutely trip over themselves trying to run to his defense. Telling me “oh I don’t think he meant it like that…see what he meant was…he just wants to make sure you’re comfortable.”

It wasn’t long ago that fellow PGA Tour player Adam Schenk found that roasting your wife in public does not pay dividends, and you may think lessons were learned from that. It appears not.

Hadwin’s current status:

Good luck, Ad.

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19th Hole

Jessica Korda in contention at Women’s Open despite having to wear borrowed clothes!

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Month after month, we read of golfers turning up at courses without their clubs. Almost every time it is down to their chosen airline ‘misplacing’ them, and leading to the players having to beg or borrow a set, or have their sponsor or manufacturer get them a spare set with urgency.

It isn’t often we read of players losing their clothes!

After yesterday’s first round 5-under 66, Jessica Korda revealed she had been wearing borrowed clothes all week whilst waiting for the return of her suitcase, stuck in transit, in Zurich. Whilst she travelled via Switzerland to Muirfield, some of her clothes did not.

On 31st July, Korda tweeted her plea to Swiss International Air Lines:

 

After the four-birdie, one-eagle round, the six-time LPGA Tour winner pleaded she was still seeking a reunion with her luggage.

“If anyone knows anyone at the Zurich airport that would like to put my suitcase on the one flight a day that they have coming into Edinburgh, I’d deeply appreciate it,” she said.

“I know where it is. I have an air tag on it. I can’t get anyone to actually go get it,” she explained.

The current Rolex #14 then credited her benefactors. “Monday I wore Megan Khang’s pants. Tuesday, I wore my sister’s pants and Wednesday I wore Alison Lee’s pants. And today I’m wearing FootJoy pants.”

Anything else missing besides the pants?

“Sponsor’s hats,” she said. “Wearing a Muirfield hat right now. A lot of my warm stuff. My hand warmers. My hands get really cold, so I wear gloves all the time. I’ve got a lot of heat patches for my lower back and my vitamins. Don’t have that.”

The episode may well have given her some impetus for the tournament.

“I gave up on it (the case) by Wednesday,” she said. “If it comes here, great, but if not, it is what it is. At this point,I’m playing a golf tournament.”

Despite all that, Korda is well positioned to have her best finish in 11 tries at the Women’s British Open, the best so far being a tied-fifth at Birkdale in 2014.

“You have to stay on it here at all times,” said Korda of the tough course.

“It’s links golf. I swear, every time we come to Scotland, it’s just like the same stuff. You’ve just got to be really prepared and take it for what it is.”
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