It wasn’t lengthy earlier than Henrik Stenson’s resolution to affix the LIV Golf Invitational Collection paid off.
Lower than a fortnight after the level-headed Swede was stripped of the European Ryder Cup captaincy efficient instantly for defecting to the controversial Saudi-backed breakaway circuit with a $50 million signing payment, Stenson hit a 69 within the remaining spherical on Sunday afternoon to win. LIV Golf’s third occasion by two photographs over Dustin Johnson and Matthew Wolff at Trump Nationwide Golf Membership in leafy New Jersey township of Bedminster, 45 miles west of New York Metropolis.
“I assume we are able to agree that I performed like a captain,” stated Stenson, who took house $4 million for beating the sector and a further $375,000 for his staff’s second-place end, dazzling sums that helped offset the withering criticism he obtained. has endured. ever since he reneged on a March promise by accepting the captain’s job to completely assist the DP Tour.
“I feel there might need been somewhat bit of additional motivation there this week,” he added. “Once we as gamers have that, I feel we are able to carry out the great. I feel that is been a theme all through my profession, I feel, after I actually need one thing, I handle to dig somewhat deeper, and quite a lot of occasions we make it occur.”
On the floor, it hit all of the notes of a feel-good narrative: a hard-earned return to the winner’s circle for a 46-year-old ranked No. 173 on the earth who hasn’t been there typically since his record-setting triumph on the 2016 Open. However when Stenson accepted the trophy alongside Donald Trump throughout a pyrotechnic ceremony that was curiously ignored of the official broadcast, whereas Donald Trump Jr. declared was “the best F/U in golf historical past,” a way of tedium prevailed that not even the Chainsmokers post-game live performance close to the tenth gap might dispel.
The opprobrium that has come to outline the pop-up circuit financed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund was solely magnified on the Bedminster golf membership, owned by a former US president whose function in fueling unrest on the US Capitol stays beneath investigation by a choose committee of the Home. Controversial, however stronger.
Trump commanded consideration all through, constantly drawing the weekend’s largest crowds as he watched the competitors from a custom-built terrace alongside the sixteenth gap with a rotating forged of VIPs that on Sunday included Fox pundit Information Tucker Carlson and Far- proper firebrand Marjorie Taylor Greene.
The uncut 54-hole competitors, with no vital stakes and no vital historical past or world rating factors at stake, felt extra like a gentle launch for Trump’s 2024 presidential run than an genuine sports activities expertise. By no means greater than throughout the remaining spherical on Sunday as spontaneous chants of “4 extra years!” and “Come on, Brandon!” – a codified vulgarity amongst Trump supporters – echoed throughout the Outdated Course.
The renegade circuit has attracted among the greatest names within the sport with exorbitant prize cash of $25 million and registration charges within the 9 figures. It has additionally drawn a fierce backlash from critics who accuse the Saudi authorities of utilizing sports activities to whitewash the dominion’s dismal human rights report, alleged hyperlinks to the 9/11 assaults, harsh crackdown on ladies’s rights and LGBTQ+ and the 2018 homicide of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal. Khashoggi.
However it would not take a CPA to grasp why LIV Golf, regardless of the sparse crowds in Bedminster and its modest broadcast viewers within the absence of a TV deal, has continued to sneak one family identify after one other from the excursions. golf set. Think about Johnson, a two-time Main champion who reportedly joined with a $150 million signing payment, who has gained greater than $5.2 million in prize cash in three LIV occasions to this point. The flashy baggage do not cease on the prime of the leaderboard both. Australia’s Jediah Morgan, who completed 14-over-par over the weekend, 25 strokes behind Stenson and in final place, took house $120,000 for his bother. Good job if you may get it.
LIV Golf is right here to remain, it appears. Subsequent cease: the Oaks course on the Worldwide outdoors of Boston in September. However Bedminster’s weird scenes have solely proven how far he has to go to win over his doubters and shut the hole on golf’s escalating civil battle.