ICYMI: Here are 7 pretty incredible moments from the LIV press conference

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The inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event will tee off starting Thursday with players such as Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and other notable names joining the venture.

To preview the four-day event the circuit held an opening news conference at Centurion Golf Club in St. Albans, England on Tuesday.

Johnson resigned from the PGA Tour. Players among the 48-person field were asked about LIV Golf being financed by the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia and its role in the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamaal Khashoggi, among other atrocities.

Here are some highlights from the news conference, which included abbreviated explanations and reporters being removed:

Graeme McDowell: 'Really hard question'

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland walks to the first tee during the first round of the Valero Texas Open golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

According to ESPN, McDowell was one of the lone golfers to provide a response to a question about working on behalf of Saudi Arabia.

“I wish I had the ability to be able to have that conversation with you,” McDowell said. “You know, I think as golfers, if we tried to cure geopolitical situations in every country in the world that we play golf in, we wouldn’t play a lot of golf. It’s a really hard question to answer. You know, we’re just here to focus on the golf and kind of what it does globally for the role models that these guys are and that we are, and yeah, that’s a really hard question to get into.

“I mean, this has been incredibly polarizing. I think we all agree, the Kashoggi situation, that was reprehensible.”

Talor Gooch: 'I'm not that smart'

Sentry Tournament of Champions 2021
Sentry Tournament of Champions 2021

Talor Gooch acknowledges the crowd after making his putt on the 13th hole during the third round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions golf tournament at Kapalua Resort – The Plantation Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Posed with a question about participating in “sportswashing” – using sports to present a sanitized version of a political regime or operation – Talor Gooch had this to say:

“I don’t think that’s fair,” he said, via ESPN. “Also … I’m a golfer. I’m not that smart. I try to hit a golf ball into a small hole. Golf is hard enough. I try to worry about golf, and I’m excited bout this week.”

Kevin Na confident he can play Ryder Cup

Kevin Na’s shirt made multiple statements during the first round of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

As of now, players must be PGA Tour members to play in the Ryder Cup. By participating in LIV Golf, they risk being banned for playing with a non-sanctioned competitor.

Kevin Na thinks it won’t come down to that, though. “I honestly don’t think it’s going to happen.”

His thinking?

“Rules can be changed,” he said.

Reporter removed before returning

US golfer Dustin Johnson (L), Northern Irish golfer Graeme McDowell (C) and Thailand golfer Ratchanon “TK” Chantananuwat attend a press conference ahead of the forthcoming LIV Golf Invitational Series event at The Centurion Club in St Albans. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

According to ESPN, Associated Press reporter Rob Harris was removed after a LIV spokesman cut him off while trying to answer a question. Players began to leave as LIV officials reprimanded the reporter for not being “polite.”

Security led Harris out after that. Harris was allowed back into the media center about 10 minutes later, per ESPN.

Ari Fleischer runs LIV Golf news conference

Ari Fleischer, shown while with the Bush administration in 2003. (File photo)

The emcee of the news conference was former White House press secretary and Fox News contributor Ari Fleischer.

The spokesman was held to the same standard as the players and asked to square his employment with LIV Golf compared to his past Twitter posts that criticized the government.

Fleischer also does media consulting for the College Football Playoff.

Dustin Johnson resigns from PGA Tour

US golfer Dustin Johnson speaks during a press conference ahead of the forthcoming LIV Golf Invitational Series event at The Centurion Club in St Albans. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

While McDowell opted to not resign from the PGA Tour yet, Johnson took the preemptive step.

“I’m excited about (LIV),” he said. “Obviously the Ryder Cup is unbelievable and something that has meant a lot to me. … Hopefully I’ll get a chance to do that again, but I don’t make the rules.”

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