BOB WEST ON GOLF – Debate heats up over Mickelson, PGA Tour defectors – Port Arthur News
Tiger Woods reportedly turned down more than $500 million to join the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tour, apparently because he didn’t want his name tarnished under a ” sportswashing” aimed at covering up Saudi atrocities.
Phil Mickelson, on the other hand, agreed to $200 million to become the face of a Greg Norman venture that has already siphoned off nearly 20 PGA Tour members. Other notable defectors include Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed.
So what about a rapidly developing morality game that is front and center this week at the US Open being played outside of Boston. Everyone, it seems, has already chosen sides, right down to CBS’ normally neutral nice guy, Jim Nantz. who threw in the word betrayal during the telecast of the RBC Canadian Open this weekend.
Nantz, unsurprisingly, fell on the side of the PGA Tour and its suspensions of those who ran away for senseless blood money. He is in the vast majority and the case against LIV recruits escalated over the weekend when the president of a group of 9/11 survivors reminded everyone of the 3,000 lives lost in one great American tragedies.
“Given Saudi Arabia’s role in the deaths of our loved ones and those injured on 9/11 – your fellow Americans – we are angry that you are so willing to help the Saudis cover up this story in their quest for respectability” , wrote 9/11 widow Terry Strada, in a letter to defected players.
If you’re confused on the subject, 15 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi citizens. Strada’s group has an active lawsuit against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the formation and funding that led to the death and destruction of the World Trade Towers.
Then there is the dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the henchmen of Saudi leader Mohammed bin Salmon. And the jailing of dissidents, the oppression of women and the criminalization of homosexuals, that’s pretty much standard fare.
For those who may have missed it, here’s what Mickelson allegedly said about his new business partners a few months ago.
“They are scary (expletive) to get involved. We know they killed Khashoggi and they have a horrible human rights record. They execute people there for being gay.
For $200 million, however, Mickelson managed to look the other way and get deeply involved. The media lashed out at him at a press conference on Monday and you have to think he’ll be a marked man for the galleries at the US Open this week, especially once the beer starts flowing.
Many questions, meanwhile, remain unanswered when it comes to Golf LIV. For every Mickelson, Johnson and DeChambeau, there’s Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Scottie Scheffler standing up for the PGA Tour and why players should stick with an organization that has done so much for them.
There are many more in the latter camp than in the former and most of them are younger rising stars who are the future of the game. Many of them are influenced by Woods and his views on the PGA Round. It’s a position that’s sure to endear him to the game’s old guard and its purists.
As for the LIV gang, they have their guaranteed blood money and big purses, and that seems enough to rationalize becoming partners with a murderous government. But most of them were quickly dumped by long-time sponsors unwilling to see their name linked to Saudi Arabia. There is no tournament television contract for similar reasons.
What American company wants one of these guys to showcase their products to an audience well versed in Saudi Arabia’s background? What television channel wants to be part of the broadcast of a competition offering ridiculous money to a limited number of good players, many of whom may be despised in their own country?
Overall, however, the PGA Tour vs LIV is an issue that isn’t going away anytime soon. Who would have thought that golf could be in the middle of something like this, something that could make once-popular players regret that they might be on the wrong side of history?
CHIP SHOTS: Patrick Bassana of San Antonio won the YMBL Tournament which was the opening event of the Southern Texas PGA Junior Tour on June 6-7 in Bayou Din. Bassana shot 150 (79-71) to give him a five-shot win over Nederland’s Preston Deserrano.
In other Junior Tour steals, Montana Dileo of Orange won 16 shots in the girls 15-18 with a 149 (76-73) and Brayden Akers of Livingston won the boys 13-14 with a 154 (77-77 ), in Junior Links, Ella Calder shot 63 over nine holes to win the Girls 13-14 and Dayton’s Graham Warren won the Boys 13-14 with a 40. . .
Monday’s Senior 50 Plus match at Babe Zaharias was played in a better 3-ball format. The team of Doug LeBlanc, Aubrey Ward, Art Turner and Ron Mistrot won the up front with plus 2. Under 3 won the back tam of Danny Robbins, Rusty Hicks, Harrell Guidry and Rufus Reyes.
Closest to winners were John House (#2, 6′, 10″), Turner (#7, 6-0 ½), Reyes (#12, 8-10) and Bob West (#15, 8-4) . . .
In the Super Saturday Senior 2 ball, there was a tie at five to minus 1 between the teams led by James Shipley, Brian Mirabella, Price Youngs, Ron LaSalle and West. On the back, the Mirabella, Kenny Robbins, Guidry and Ron Hicks won with minus 5.
The Friday 2 Ball saw the team of Dwayne Morvant, Larry Reece, Richard Malone and Glenn Knight take the front at minus 2. It was also the winning score at the back for Earl Richard’s team, Charles Leard, Lonnie Mosley and Dwayne Benoit. .
Wednesday’s dogfight was played in an all-points format. The team of Richard, Raymond Darbonne, Larry Lee and Paul Duplantis won with 28 points. Second with 27 was the quartet of Danny Robbins, Cody Metts, Jake Selensky and James Johnson.
The closest winners were Benoit (#2), West (#7), Danny Robbins (#12) and Kenny Robbins (#15). . .