Is Trump about to get into Bedminster with the Saudis?

John Craven
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Is Trump about to get into Bedminster with the Saudis?

Donald Trump (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Following Golfweek breaking the news that the Saudi-backed Golf League is very much back on the table, it seems Donald Trump is at the top of the queue to host the Series should it get underway as planned.

Golfweek reported that the Saudi-backed Series would be rocking the golf world as early as next week, with Aussie Greg Norman set to be announced as Commissioner of the new Series.

Only a number of hand-picked members of the media and Series organisers were privy to what took place at a private meeting on Wednesday but No Laying Up are the latest to come forward with information from the rumour mill and it seems Trump could yet become a central character in this apparent takeover of golf as we know it.

Trump’s Bedminster Course in New Jersey as well as Trump Turnberry are being tipped as potential venues, as well as facilities in Dubai. It is expected that the series will include six events in Saudi and six worldwide with Trump’s Bedminster site apparently already evaluated by Series organisers ahead of next week’s announcement.

Having felt the wrath of the golfing public with the pitched Premier Golf League and Super Golf League already, this latest proposal should make for interesting viewing as the bottomless Saudi pockets continue in their efforts to shake up the golf world.

And with the likes of ‘Shark’ Norman and Phil Mickelson seemingly firmly behind any breakaway league, it should be doubly interesting to see who else will be tempted, not least off the back of news that eight PGA Tour members wrote to the PGA Tour for permission to “grow the game” at next year’s Saudi International, including the world number 3 Dustin Johnson, despite the tournament now being played under the Asian Tour umbrella after the Saudis pumped $100million into the circuit.

Whatever chance those requests had of being granted will no doubt lessen should the PGA Tour come under threat by next week’s announcement. However, it remains important to highlight that behind any takeover bid is a regime accused of sports-washing to distract from a human rights record described as “heinous” by Amnesty International. Norman and Mickelson might sell their soul for the sake of profit but Jay Monahan and co will hope their already healthily rewarded stars will remain loyal to the tour and the game’s traditions.

Not all will of course, but as I wrote yesterday, the question will be whether those willing to accept the money are worth fighting for?

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