Marc Daniels Column: You'll Never Guess Who Took LIV Money Last Week

LIV Golf Invitational - Bedminster - Pro-Am

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A federal judge in California ruled against three LIV golfers on Tuesday who were seeking a temporary restraining order against the PGA to allow them to play in the PGA Tour's Playoffs beginning Thursday in Memphis. The judge ruled that the LIV players had not made their case of irreparable harm and agreed with the PGA Tour's position that the players' argument for emergency relief was of their own making. The judge basically said the golfers were well compensated when they chose to join LIV and were not losing a financial opportunity by not playing in the playoffs. So golfers Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford will be allowed to play this week and the PGA's ruling to suspend those players holds. The ruling does not mean LIV golfers will not win their antitrust suit against the PGA, a hearing that may start in September or be put off until 2025 based on the judge's schedule.

Also on Tuesday, recent British Open champion Cam Smith dodged questions at his press conference at the PGA event in Memphis when he was asked about reports he has signed to play for LIV for $100M. Multiple reports say Smith is expected to play in the next LIV event in early September. Smith would only say he is committed to winning the playoff, which ends August 28th- the week before the next scheduled LIV tournament.

Charles Barkley flirted with the idea of joining LIV as a commentator but ultimately did not reach a deal with Greg Norman and LIV officials. Barkley said he was torn about leaving TNT and likely his corporate sponsors because of an affiliation with LIV but the money was something he had to think about. In a recent interview Barkley said one of things he wants to do when he retires from broadcasting when his current deal is up in a couple of years is to help young black men and women go to college at historically black universities by funding their education. He said some of the money he would have made from LIV would have gone to that cause but he added he is still committed to funding the project and looks forward to having more time to do that when he steps away from covering the NBA.

While Barkley didn't reach a deal with LIV, we know who did and we see who may(see Cam Smith) and the perception of those taking the money remains consistent. Many members of the golf media and news media and many fans have criticized golfers for taking the Saudi money and connecting that money to the history of the Saudi government and their actions and position on human rights.

I have said before and will say it again, I am aware of the actions of those in charge of the Saudi government and their position on human and women's rights. I know who was responsible for the horrific attacks on our country in 2001. I know from people who have lived in Saudi Arabia the struggles that women face and the challenges many deal with in regards to basic rights. I also understand the world is not simple and often complicated. We live in a global economy and sometimes we do business with people and places that are not exactly individuals you would call friends. 

LIV is backed by the Saudi government and you've been told that every time there is a story about the LIV Tour. There will be more golfers after Cam Smith who take LIV money. My guess is that after the PGA Playoffs are done there will be a new list of names to bounce from the PGA Tour and take the money.

But do you know who took LIV money last week? And the answer is not someone who can hit a driver 350 yards or consistently make putts from 10 feet and in. Nope. Last week someone took $3B from LIV. Well, not exactly LIV's budget line but the Saudi government. That would be the United States. On August 2nd, the State Department cleared the deal to sell arms to Saudi Arabia. The deal, the first in a series of expected transactions, will see 300 patriot missiles, control stations, fire control and other equipment be sent to the Saudis.

Before you try to make it political and rip President Joe Biden, know that former President Donald Trump signed a 10-year arms deal in 2017 that totaled $350B. Biden, Trump, Obama, Bush and Clinton all sold arms to Saudi Arabia.

I am not a military expert and won't play one and I am sure there are reasons we, as a country, do this in every administration, but we do and the deals are worth billions and billions. 

We always selectively choose our outrage when it impacts us. Some things bother us more than others. We can't and shouldn't be angry at everything. That's a hard life to live. 

I don't know the future of golf and if the two tours will figure out how to exist with each other. I don't know when, or if, critics of players who choose to take LIV money will move on and not always about where the money comes from. But just remember, if you are among those who criticize the players who take the LIV money, they are not any different than our government, regardless of your political affiliation.

Final note: One orange yields about 2-3 tablespoons of orange juice.

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