Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Up2Us Sports
While the PGA Tour is competing against LIV Golf, the Ladies Professional Golf Association would at least consider doing business with the Saudi Arabia-backed league, LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan said Saturday.
“It’s my responsibility to evaluate every opportunity,” Marcoux Samaan told Cathy Harris of the London Times (h/t Beth Ann Nichols of Golfweek). “I would engage in a conversation if it would achieve our aim of promoting women’s golf, but there needs to be input from players and sponsors. There’s a lot of factors to consider before we do business with LIV Golf.”
Marcoux Samaan’s comments come after LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman told the Palm Beach Post (h/t Golfweek) that he was “100 percent confident” about starting a women’s golf league.
“We have discussed it internally, the opportunity is there,” Norman said. “Aramco is already the largest sponsor of women’s golf in the world. Aramco, a Saudi company.”
Aramco, a Saudi oil company, sponsors six events on the Ladies European Tour with prize money totaling $6 million.
The Saudi government has been accused of numerous human rights abuses, including the assassination of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. Critics have also accused the government of sportswashing, using the new league to improve its reputation around the world.
A number of top players on the PGA Tour have already joined the LIV Golf Invitational Series. The breakaway circuit has offered some players more than $100 million to move on from the PGA Tour, and the league’s purse sizes, with the winner of each event receiving $4 million, have also been enticing.
As for the women’s game, 20-time LPGA Tour winner Cristie Kerr said last month that “almost the entire tour” would make the jump to LIV Golf if it were in a similar situation to the men’s game.