Donald Trump hits out at PGA Tour as Greg Norman’s right-hand man resigns from rebel series
Former US President Donald Trump accused the PGA Tour of taking advantage of players and fans “for many years” on the same day that the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series suffered the resignation of Greg Norman’s right-hand man.
Trump is working alongside LIV Golf to stage the rebel $255million breakaway series that gets under way next month at Centurion Golf Club in St Albans, before heading to the US where two Trump’s courses will play host.
But the venture suffered a sizeable blow this week after it emerged that Sean Bratches, LIV Golf Chief Commercial Officer, had suddenly resigned. The departure came just one week after Norman played down the Saudi involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by saying, “look, we’ve all made mistakes”.
A LIV statement read: “Sean Bratches is under contract with LIV Golf Investments for the next 90-days as he transitions out of his current role.”
Bratches was only in the role six months and is a big loss, given his reputation from more than 27 years with ESPN and four spent with Formula One as managing director of commercial operations. At least Norman has Trump’s rant as consolation.
“The PGA of ‘America’ and the PGA Tour have been taking advantage of the players for many years (not much different than charging the fans $19 for a beer), and the players are not happy… LIV can change that!“ Trump wrote on his Truth Social profile, the media platform he uses since being banned by Twitter.
“Backed by Saudi Arabia (just like Formula One, UFC, Boxing, Tennis and almost all of sports, unlimited amount(s) of money will be available for the players, charity, and likewise the PGA [Tour] will, because of this new competition, be forced to ‘pay up’.
With lucrative riches on offer for players who commit to the series of $25 million [£19.99m] per event and $50m [£39.98m] at the season-ending event at Trump’s National Doral Miami course, several players inside the world’s top 100 have been tempted over to the breakaway series - despite threats of being blocked from majors, both Tours and the Ryder Cup.
The prize money in the LIV Golf Invitational Series will vastly outweigh what is on offer at corresponding events on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour. With Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund backing the rebel series, a total $225m [£179.90,m] will be on offer across the eight events, nearly five times more than in America and seven times more than the DP World Tour.
The PGA Tour recently celebrated offering the biggest prize fund in golf history with a total purse of $20m [£16m], but LIV Golf plans to offer more than that at each one of its seven regular events before doubling the pot for the finale.
“It was only because of competition that the Players Championship paid a record this year - great going Cam [Smith]!” Trump added.
“Professional Golfers should embrace LIV, and just watch what happens - much more of everything for all!”