PGA Tour Accused of Taking Saudi 'Blood Money' in Surprise Merger With LIV Golf
The PGA Tour surprised the golf world on Tuesday by agreeing to merge with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf league, despite widespread criticism of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
For Context: LIV Golf was founded in 2021 with billions of dollars from a fund controlled by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Considered the country's de facto leader, the prince has been accused by U.S. officials of ordering the killing of Washington Post (Lean Left bias) journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. Critics also cite Saudi Arabia’s alleged connection to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, involvement in the war in Yemen, and treatment of women and LGBTQ+ people. While LIV signed several high-profile golfers and attracted former President Donald Trump, others like Tiger Woods turned down lucrative offers to join, and PGA previously banned golfers who joined LIV.
How the Media Covered It: Coverage often noted opposition to the merger; CNBC (Center bias) said “a lot of people vocally disagree,” and The New York Times (Lean Left bias) said “numerous golfers hate it.” Some right- and center-rated coverage highlighted Trump predicting the merger in a July 2022 Truth Social post.
Media Perspectives: Voices across the spectrum accused the PGA of taking “blood money” from a “brutal regime” and allowing it to “sports-wash” its reputation. Meanwhile, a New York Post (Lean Right bias) sports writer argued that while PGA “sold out,” the sport of golf and golf fans benefitted from the merger.
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