sport news More defections expected after the US Open as the Saudis are winning in golf's ... trends now
Another fast-paced week in golf’s civil war is coming up with several crucial meetings taking place and the game braced for more defections to the Saudi-backed LIV series.
Following the temporary ceasefire at the US Open last week, all sorts of rumours have been swirling as to the identity of the defectors, including two or three names from the world’s top 15 that would place the rebel circuit on an entirely different level.
There are some who think they are simply waiting for the end of America’s national championship before being announced by LIV and revealing themselves in time for the next rebel event in Portland, Oregon in 11 days.
Spain's Jon Rahm all but revealed last week that he had been offered $400m to switch
The amounts being bandied about are beyond mind-boggling. Jon Rahm, who isn’t defecting, all but revealed last week that he had been offered $400million to switch.
By that mark, Rory McIlroy must have turned down $500m. ‘I’ll be honest,’ said basketball legend and keen golfer Charles Barkley. ‘If someone offered me $200m, I’d kill a relative!’
The pressure it is placing on the status quo is immense, and clearly poses an existential threat to the game as we know it.
The Travelers Championship on the PGA Tour next week is usually a tournament filled with light relief after a major but not this time.
Only two of the 15 players who competed in inaugural LIV event made the cut at the US Open
On Tuesday, the characteristically tranquil setting in Connecticut will be transformed into a hive of activity as a PGA Tour board meeting will be followed by another mandatory gathering for the players.
They will be presented with the novel changes expected for the latter part of the year to bring excitement to a humdrum part of the schedule, not to mention guaranteed riches to keep the world’s best out of the clutches of the Saudis.
The credibility of the rebel circuit was hardly helped by the performances at the US Open of those lured already. Only two of the 15 players who competed in the inaugural LIV event at St Albans made so much as the cut.
The Saudis know they need rather more than hasbeens and twentysomethings taking the easy way out. But they have time and, clearly, limitless wealth on their side.
On Thursday, a crucial part of the mainstream strategy will be revealed when the DP World Tour finally reveals its stance on whether to follow the PGA Tour and ban players such as Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter who have signed up with the Saudis. One event that will clearly be affected one way or the other is the Scottish Open next month, in the week before the 150th Open at St Andrews.
The DP World Tour have yet to announce if they will ban the likes of Lee Westwood
Now co-sanctioned with the PGA Tour, it was the American-based organisation who secured a lucrative new sponsor, Genesis.
The star-laden field includes Masters Champion and