Thin crowds were reported at the Saudi-backed LIV golf tournament taking place this weekend at former President Donald Trump’s New Jersey club, and tickets were reportedly sold out for as little as 1 $ online.
LIV Golf, which aims to rival the nearly century-old PGA Tour, has sparked significant controversy due to its funding by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund. The kingdom has faced heavy criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for its documented human rights abuses, and in particular the grisly murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
While LIV Golf has been successful in attracting top professional golfers, the PGA Tour has banned its members from competing. Trump, however, embraced the new tournament after the PGA Tour scrapped plans to hold its championship at his Bedminster club following the events of Jan. 6, 2021.
The New York Times reported on Friday that crowds at the event were “thin and sparse at many holes”, although he also noted the “easy camaraderie” between players. In the same way, The Wall Street Journal reported that many holes “had just a handful of fans as the day progressed” on Friday. The Conservative newspaper also reported that tickets for the event were selling for as little as $1 on StubHub.com.
A search by Newsweek On Saturday afternoon, tickets for Sunday’s event at Trump’s Bedminster club were sold for as low as $7 and $8 on the ticketing website. Some event tickets cost up to $150 as well.
“The golf course itself, meanwhile, wasn’t exactly supercharged – light crowds were spread across much of the expansive ground here on the first day of the tournament,” said the Log reported.
golf week, meanwhile, described the crowd as “alive”. Some attendees reportedly chanted “Four more years!” and “Let’s go Brandon!” when Trump made his first appearance to start the event. “Let’s go Brandon” has become a popular catchphrase for right-wing critics of President Joe Biden, as it replaces “F*** Joe Biden.”
Trump ignored Saudi funding criticism behind the event, saying the backers were his friends
“I have known these people for a long time in Saudi Arabia and they have been friends of mine for a long time,” Trump said Thursday, according to The temperature.
“They’ve invested in a lot of American companies. They own big percentages in a lot of American companies and frankly what they do for golf is so great, what they do for the players is so great. Salaries go very high,” said the former president.
Newsweek has contacted LIV Golf for comment.