Jul 18, 2022 - Sports

Trump lends support to LIV golf as 9/11 families ask him to cancel event

A view of the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, in 2017.
A view of the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., in 2017. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

A group of family members of 9/11 victims asked former President Trump in a letter Sunday to cancel an LIV Golf tournament set to be held at his golf course in in Bedminster, New Jersey, at the end of the month, according to the Washington Post.

Why it matters: LIV, which began play last month, is highly controversial and has thrown the golfing world into chaos because of Saudi Arabia's financing of the tour and conflicts with the PGA Tour, Axios' Tim Baysinger reports.

  • Critics, including members of the 9/11 Justice group, have alleged that Saudi Arabia, by financing the tour through its Public Investment Fund, is using golf to boost its global image and "sportswash" its poor record on human rights and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
  • LIV's creation has also set off fierce competition with the PGA. At least 17 players currently risk PGA banishment by signing up for the far-more-lucrative LIV tour.

What they're saying: “We simply cannot understand how you could agree to accept money from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s golf league to host their tournament at your golf course, and to do so in the shadows of Ground Zero in New Jersey, which lost over 700 residents during the attacks,” the group wrote in a letter to Trump obtained by the Post.

  • “It is incomprehensible to us that a former president of the United States would cast our loved ones aside for personal financial gain,” the letter continued. “We hope you will reconsider your business relationship with the Saudi golf league and will agree to meet with us.”
  • The tournament is set to be held at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster on July 29-31, and the finale of the LIV tour’s season is set for late October at Trump Doral in Florida.

The big picture: The former president backed LIV in a post on Monday, saying golfers who have remained loyal to the PGA will "pay a big price when the inevitable MERGER with LIV comes."

  • "If you don’t take the money now, you will get nothing after the merger takes place, and only say how smart the original signees were," he added.

Fifteen of the 19 attackers during 9/11 were citizens of Saudi Arabia, though the Saudi government has repeatedly denied that it was involved in the attacks.

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