The world has been cringing about the audacious spending of LIV Golf to lure the world’s top players from the PGA and onto its tournaments. And the circuit’s association with Saudi Arabia.
However, until now, we have only heard one Black player’s perspective, the juggernaut of the game, Tiger Woods, who is holding the line of political correctness and not getting involved in LIV Golf.
Now another Black player of prominence has entered the LIV Golf quandary, and unlike Tiger Woods, the increased financial opportunity was too significant to miss for Harold Varner III. The 32-year-old winner of the 2016 Australian PGA Championship took to social media to keep it real on why he has decided to work with LIV Golf and how it can change the trajectory of his family for generations.
This is really well done. You might not like the fact that Harold Varner III has left for LIV — and he seems to understand that — but I’m not sure the explanation could be any better. pic.twitter.com/rZRMbXobGA
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelTAN) August 30, 2022
“The opportunity to join LIV Golf is simply too good of a financial breakthrough for me to pass by,” Varner posted on his Instagram account. “I know what it means to grow up without much. This money is going to ensure that my kid and future Varners will have a solid base to start on – and a life I could have only dreamt about growing up. It’ll also help fund many of the programs I’m building with my Foundation. I’ll continue to forge pathways for kids interested in golf. This note is a receipt of for that.”
Last week, LIV Golf announced six golfers would be taking their talents to the new series, including Harold Varner III, Cameron Tringale, Joaquin Niemann, Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman, and Anirban Lahiri. The new circuit, led by Greg Norman and backed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, has faced public backlash for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s human rights issues.
As it is about to host the fourth event at the International on Sept. 2-4, outside Boston, LIV Golf now boasts six top 30 players on the Official World Golf Ranking.
Everyone’s LIV calculus is different. Really, really hard to take issue with Harold Varner III here. pic.twitter.com/Fi7BUn7q7I
— Dan Rapaport (@Daniel_Rapaport) August 31, 2022
Tiger Woods, who represents the all-American golf image, cannot align with an organization whose backers are reportedly linked to funding 9-11 planning and are alleged to be responsible for the death of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi. However, Tiger Woods is a billionaire and the most prominent talent brand in golf history. For others like Harold Varner III, who may never see that level of success in the sport, LIV Golf represents a way to jumpstart more significant financial solvency.
Varner has never won on the PGA Tour. However, he did qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs this year’s seventh consecutive season and won the 2022 PIF Saudi International. Rumors have abounded that is when LIV Golf first approached him to join. Clearly, something happened from then to now, as Varner initially expressed his disinterest in LIV.
Harold Varner III on his decision to join #LIVGolf
"This money is going to ensure that my kid and future Varners will have a solid base to start on – and a life I could have only dreamt about growing up"
So great for him, his family and all that will benefit from his foundation pic.twitter.com/D6c6wej5g2
— LIV Golf Updates (@LIVGolfUpdates) August 30, 2022
Varner told the world in June that he wasn’t interested in joining LIV Golf even after they gave him a “nuts” offer.
“I’m obviously not going,” Varner said to SI. “I’ve spoken with [PGA Tour commissioner Jay [Monahan], I’ve spoken with a lot of people I look up to and it just wasn’t worth it to me for what it was worth. That’s pretty simple.”
With the reversal, Varner makes his LIV Golf debut at The International in Bolton, Massachusetts, this week as he is working for his last name and not his first name amid the controversy surrounding that decision.