The third event in the controversial Saudi-backed tour is taking place in Bedminster, New Jersey, which is a course owned by Trump.
A LIV Golf source told Reuters that Trump and his son Eric will play with 2020 US Open winner DeChambeau and two-time major winner Johnson at the Pro-Am on Thursday ahead of his first round which begins the following day.
“All of those golfers who remain ‘faithful’ to the very treacherous PGA, in all its various guises, will pay a heavy price when the inevitable MERGER with LIV arrives, and you’ll get nothing but a big ‘thank you’ PGA officials who earn millions of dollars a year,” Trump wrote on Truth Social Monday.
“If you don’t take the money now, you won’t get anything after the merger, and only say the intelligence of the original signatories.”
Speaking at a press conference near the Bedminster course on Tuesday, Terry Strada, president of 9/11 Families United – a coalition of families and survivors of the 2001 terror attacks – said playing such a tournament so close of the site of the worst terrorist attack in American history is false.
Players have also been criticized for abandoning the established PGA Tour and DP World Tour in search of eye-watering cash prizes.
Allegations of Saudi government complicity in the September 11, 2001, attacks have long been the subject of controversy in Washington. Fifteen of the 19 al-Qaeda terrorists who hijacked four planes were Saudi nationals, but the Saudi government has denied any involvement in the attacks.
The 9/11 Commission established by Congress said in 2004 that it found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded” al-Qaeda.
Still, families of the victims have pushed for further disclosures, and last year the FBI released a document that details the FBI’s work to investigate alleged logistical support that a Saudi consular official and a Saudi intelligence agent alleged in Los Angeles provided at least two hijackers.
In response to the criticism, LIV Golf told CNN in a statement, “As we have always said, these families have our deepest sympathy. Although some may disagree, we believe golf is a strength. for good all over the world.”
The 9/11 issue is just one of many reviews of the LIV Golf series.
Led by former world No. 1 Greg Norman, the team-based LIV series is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) – a sovereign wealth fund chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia – and pledged to award $250 million in total prize money.
Tournaments are played over 54 holes, rather than the PGA Tour’s 72 holes, and no player is cut during the tournament.
The huge sums of money to be won and the lower demands have prompted a number of golfers – many in the twilight of their careers – to break away from the PGA Tour and join LIV, including six-time major winner Phil Mickelson, the four-time major champion Brooks Koepka and former world number 1 Johnson.