Saudi Golf Federation CEO Majed Al Sorour was recently quoted making scathing, dangerous comments about golf’s major championships. Now, after intense backlash, Al Sorour is claiming his comments were “wrongfully expressed.”
It’s unclear whether or not LIV golfers will be able to play in future major championships. Each major is run by its own governing body separate to the PGA Tour, so it’ll be a waiting game to see what each event will do with LIV players who are technically eligible to compete.
Al Sorour is frustrated with the current situation and is tired of waiting. He made that abundantly clear in his feature with the New Yorker.
“If the majors decide not to have our players play? I will celebrate. I will create my own majors for my players,” Al Sorour said.
Downplaying the importance and prestige of the four major championships – each of which every LIV golfer wants to participate in – is a very questionable strategy.
After his quotes came to light, Al Sorour backtracked and released a statement. He claimed he was expressing his frustration in what was “a casual conversation” with a New Yorker reporter.
“When it comes to the majors, tournaments that stand alone and are independent of LIV, I have the utmost respect for the majors. The Majors are about history, heritage, true competition and honour,” Al Sorour’s statement read.
“The story wrongfully expressed and misrepresented my views. The Majors are indeed the best platform where LIV golfers and other tour golfers can compete, despite the PGA Tour’s suspension of our players.”
Why Al Sorour’s Comments About The Majors Are Dangerous
Al Sorour degrading golf’s major championships was a boneheaded move. Nobody important in the golf world who isn’t directly linked with LIV Golf is on their side. Frustrating those people, and golf’s governing bodies, even more so by adding more fuel to what is already a raging inferno is not in the best interest of LIV or its players.
It’s worth pointing out that nowhere in Al Sororus’ statement did he backtrack on the idea of creating his own majors.
This is a scary and not entirely impossible idea.
Al Sorour and the Saudis have unlimited funding. If they wanted to host a tournament the same week as all four majors they absolutely could, and they could also offer much larger purses.
Let’s take the Masters in April, for example. Last year’s Masters had a record-setting purse of $15 million with Scottie Scheffler earning $2.7 million as the winner.
What’s stopping the Saudis from having their own version of the Masters and doubling, maybe even tripling the purse? Nothing.
This is where things could get dangerous for professional golf.
PHIL MICKELSON GETS ASKED ABOUT HIS PAST CRITICISMS OF SAUDIS WHILE IN SAUDI ARABIA, POORLY ATTEMPTS TO DENY EVERYTHING
As we all know, money talks. If Al Sorour and the Saudis invite players to tee it up for $30 million during major championship weeks, with likely guaranteed paydays, plenty of players are going to accept that invite.
The majority of golf fans would still care about the Masters or another traditional major, even with a weaker field, than whatever ‘major’ LIV may come up with.
However, some of that fan interest in the Masters or the other three majors would inevitably dwindle.
Golf’s major championships have a different feel to them. Some of that magic would be taken away if there’s another tournament being played the same exact week, with top players, and with millions more on the line.
Whether you’re a LIV Golf lover or a LIV Golf hater, golf fans can admit that the drama and uncertainty within the game has been entertaining to follow the past handful of months.
But if this idea comes to fruition, that entertaining drama turns into a drama that legitimately damages the game of golf.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris