It was nice of Ian Poulter to show interest in my industry at The Open Championship.
You’ll probably know Poulter is the worst-dressed golfer to ever win a Major — and perhaps now for stuffing wads of Saudi cash down his flamboyant pants when he joined the rebel LIV Golf Tour.
After becoming one of the sheikh’s snakes, the Englishman received a few boos when he left for St Andrews – and the journalists reported it.
Opposing it, Poulter has since demanded “fair, respectful and honest journalism”.
Its Saudi payers also demand “respectful” journalism. And they have taken to murdering and dismembering journalists who do not respect their brutal regime.
So maybe ask the guys who sign your checks if it’s “fair”, huh “Poults”?
The Saudis, never opposed to an all-out attack (just ask Yemen), launched an offensive against the golf establishment.
These people are serious, they are professional, they are determined to cleanse sport of a regime that grossly violates human rights – and they are absolutely loaded.
Don’t assume they will just split golf in half.
With hundreds of millions paid to Newcastle United by the Saudi Public Investment Fund which finances LIV, they are likely to buy the Premier League title before long.
FREE BETS AND SIGNUP OFFERS – BEST OFFERS FOR NEW CUSTOMERS
The Saudis go about it in impressive fashion, hiring an excellent manager in Eddie Howe and an excellent sporting director in Dan Ashworth, both convinced to leave their conscience at the door.
Emboldened by their ability to wreak havoc in a major global sport like golf, the Saudis should now target others – with tennis ripe for a future rebel escape at LIV.
On Sunday, as the 150th Open reached its climax at the Home of Golf, the Saudis landed two important strikes.
First, when champion Cameron Smith refused to deny he intended to join the rebels.
Again, the Aussie mullet man suggested that a reporter was wrong to ask him that question.
According to Smith, his “team” makes these decisions for him and he accepts them. Which seems handy.
Still, maybe the swordsman who carries out public executions in Riyadh’s Chop Chop Square could do something about Smith’s hairstyle.
Smith, now second in the world rankings, would become the first player in the top ten to defect.
But more importantly, news also broke on Sunday that European Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson was set to give up his job and join the Saudis.
When the captain joins the mutiny, you know the ship is in real trouble.
While those who control golf’s status quo – the R&A, PGA Tour and DP World Tour – have gone to the Saudis with all guns, most golf watchers probably didn’t care too much. where golfers get their money.
Most of the Europeans who have joined the dark side are veterans looking for a last paycheck, like Poulter, the increasingly temperamental Lee Westwood, and Sergio Garcia, who wants us to play a sad song on a little violin. because people are mean to him.
But Stenson’s exit is a game-changer as the partisan nature of the Ryder Cup – which will then take place in Italy in the fall of 2023 – stirs up passions like no other event in sport.
There is fury against the Swede. And there is now deep concern that LIV – led by the Saudis’ chief lackey Greg Norman – will recruit enough big names to significantly affect the credibility of golf’s biggest events.
Next year it looks like the Open champion won’t defend the Claret Jug and the Ryder Cup will be ruined by the sacking of one of his team captains.
The R&A had a bullish week when general manager Martin Slumbers banned Norman from participating in the 150th Open celebrations, then blanketed the money-obsessed rebels and threatened them with future changes to the qualifying criteria.
It also looked like The Open had dodged the nightmare of a Saudi-backed champion – only for frontman Rory McIlroy – an outspoken critic of LIV – to be framed by Smith.
With America’s PGA Tour having expelled its rebels indefinitely – including Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau – the sport is now engulfed in civil war.
Tennis chiefs should be concerned, as well as other major international sports.
Because, wealthy as these sportsmen are – and even an intermediate golfer like Poulter has career earnings north of £30million – many will always want more.
Perhaps we can dissuade them from taking Saudi money by reminding them of the murderous and oppressive nature of this regime.
We might even discover a consciousness or two.
And maybe we should get more and more viewers to heckle the likes of Poulter.
But maybe that wouldn’t be the kind of fair, respectful, and honest journalism that this moral crusader is so attached to.
YOU CAN’T KEEP US BOYS
GARETH BALE and Wayne Rooney, two of the biggest names in British football, have made their way to Major League Soccer.
And they both assured us that the level of the sport in the United States is massively underrated.
We’re silly to assume that Bale opted for semi-retirement with Los Angeles FC and Rooney chose an easy option managing DC United.
Thanks for the correction, gentlemen.
NEWREASON… SAME OLD STORY
APPEARENTLY Premier League managers are making players work harder than ever this pre-season – and especially new ones.
Erik ten Hag punishes Manchester United players by making them perform push-ups when they concede goals in training in Australia.
And Antonio Conte, in his first pre-season at Spurs, forced his men to throw up in Korea because, well, he’s kind of a badass, isn’t he?
Someone else will probably have banned ketchup again.
But wouldn’t it be refreshing if a new manager came along and said, ‘You know what, my predecessor overworked these boys, I’m going to take it a little slower and see if it works.’
FAITH IN JESUS
GABRIEL JESUS is an intriguing signing for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta, who knows the Brazilian well from his Manchester City days, clearly sees him as a genuine centre-forward.
But if Jesus really is a true No.9, then why hasn’t Pep Guardiola played him more regularly when City were without another senior specialist striker?
KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON
JUST a reminder that is NOT okay for grown men to freak out about their soccer team based on pre-season friendly results.
Even if it’s a 4-0 loss to Manchester United.
TIGER ABOVE THE RIFT
Besides being the most important golfer of all time, Tiger Woods also had a hard time controlling his sex drive and his cars.
But that didn’t stop Woods from receiving a tremendous ovation when he played his final Open round at St Andrews.
Because despite all the nonsense we hear about “role models,” very few people expect athletes to raise their kids for them.
In fact, we often appreciate them even more when we realize that they are imperfect.
DON’T COMPARE DADS V LADS
CHRIS EUBANK’s fights against Nigel Benn used to bring the nation to a halt in the early 1990s because they were compelling characters with contrasting styles.
That doesn’t mean Chris Eubank Jr. vs. Nigel’s son Conor Benn will be as absorbing when the duo meet in October.
Eubank Junior has little of his father’s eccentric charm, while Benn Junior is a welterweight who normally fights three weight classes below the son of his father’s former rival.
People will pay to watch it, like they paid to watch Floyd Mayweather vs. MMA gobs*** e Conor McGregor.
But these two sons would have done better to forge their own identity, rather than take up the battles of their fathers.