Lively crowd at LIV Golf Bedminster doesn't care about Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia connections – USA TODAY
BEDMINSTER, N.J. — An already lively crowd erupted with applause and chants of “Four more years!” and “Let’s go Brandon!” when former President of the United States Donald Trump made an appearance at the first tee before Friday’s shotgun start of the LIV Golf Invitational Series event at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.
“What’s (PGA Tour commissioner) Jay Monahan doing right now? Crying!” yelled another fan.
The former president has faced a great deal of criticism for hosting the Greg Norman-led and Saudi Arabia-backed series, especially from a group of 9/11 families, who held an emotional protest Friday morning before the round began. For all the outside noise, the vibe around the grounds is similar to that of the last LIV event in Portland, Oregon, in that fans are pushing aside the controversy and embracing the golf.
“My first message to my brother was, ‘I think I’d rather watch it on TV,'” said Bob Teed, a local New Jersey resident with a laugh. “I had never seen a PGA tournament before. I golf a couple times a week and there’s nothing in this area that I could go to, and this was probably the closest I was ever gonna get.”
Teed’s comments point to part of the genius in LIV Golf’s plan to hold events not only opposite weaker PGA Tour stops, but in regions of the country that love golf and are starved for tournaments, like Portland, Chicago, Boston and Miami.
“I hate to talk politics and stuff like that, but they could say the same thing about China,” Teed said in reference to the 9/11 families criticizing Trump for hosting the Saudi-funded series. “This actually opens the game up to more people who can’t get out and see it.”
Dave Teed, a local firefighter who came to the event with Bob, said the Saudi association does bother him a little bit, but if China were the ones supporting LIV, “I wouldn’t be here.”
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Dave cited President Joe Biden and his son Hunter and their connection to China as the reason for his stance. When asked if the same could be said for former President Trump and Jared Kushner’s connection to Saudi Arabia, he said, “I don’t know that much about that to be honest with you.”
“I just read a little bit about the connection with the golf tournament, the golfers and things like that, which does bother me a little bit because the PGA got these guys to where they’re at today,” Dave explained. “But it’s still fun to come out here, see the players, it’s local, which is great, which brings the money into the local economy. I think it’s a good deal. The Saudi Arabia thing I can deal with, but like I said, if it was China or something like that, no way. I wouldn’t be here.”
LIV Golf has long been criticized as a way for the Kingdom to sportswash its human rights record. Saudi Arabia has been accused of wide-ranging human rights abuses, including politically motivated killings, torture, forced disappearances and inhumane treatment of prisoners. And members of the royal family and Saudi government were accused of involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist.
Michael and Richard Adams weren’t sure what to expect when they showed up on Friday after making the two-hour trip from Chester County, Pennsylvania, but they bought in to the atmosphere right away.
“As soon as we got here, we felt like it was a fun atmosphere,” said Michael.
“We like the crowd because it’s not overbearing,” added Richard.
The pair admitted their bias towards former President Trump, and when asked if they had any reservations about coming to the event due to the Saudi Arabia connection, the answer was an emphatic no.
“(America) has done a lot worse than they have,” explained Richard.
Fellow Pennsylvania natives Bertus Wessels and Eric Mahoney made the trip from Philadelphia and both compared LIV to the PGA Tour’s WM Phoenix Open, a fan-favorite event every year on the schedule.
“It’s definitely different than anything I’ve ever been to,” Wessels said. “I’ve been to other PGA tour events and it seems way less stressful and players seem to talk to each other. I mean, there’s music playing everywhere, they’ve got people skydiving, so it’s totally different, but I think good.”
“I watched the first two on YouTube. It’s difficult to watch and keep up,” explained Mahoney. “As Bertus said, it almost reminds me of the WM Phoenix Open. So it’s different, but it’s pretty cool.”
Much like their fellow Pennsylvanians, the Kingdom’s connection to LIV wasn’t an issue.
“(Saudi Arabia is) involved in other stuff, too. People just don’t want to see what they don’t want to see,” said Wessels.
“It’s golf,” added Mahoney.
Bianca Andreescu says she's waiting on test results after injuring leg during Miami Open – The Globe and Mail
Canadian tennis player Bianca Andreescu provided an injury update of sorts on Tuesday, saying she’s still waiting on official test results after injuring her lower left leg at the Miami Open.
Andreescu, from Mississauga, Ont., was hurt Monday night in the second set of her fourth-round match against Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova.
The 22-year-old was moving across the baseline when she fell to the hardcourt and clutched her lower leg in pain. She was wheeled off the court a short time later.
Andreescu provided an update on Tuesday via social media.
“Woke up with a brace on my foot anyone know what happened? On a serious note tho that was the worst pain I’ve ever felt praying for nothing serious. Still waiting on official results. Thank you everyone for your thoughts and kind words, doesn’t go unnoticed,” she said in a Twitter post, complete with a pray emoji.
Andreescu, who won the U.S. Open in 2019, holds the No. 31 position in the world rankings.
Her agent, Charlotte Lawler, said via e-mail that Andreescu met with her doctor Tuesday afternoon. Lawler said a statement would be released once injury specifics were available.
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Emotional Bianca Andreescu leaves court in wheelchair after injury at Miami Open
Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu was forced to leave the court in a wheelchair after suffering an injury during Monday’s match against Ekaterina Alexandrova in the Round of 16 at the Miami Open.
Andreescu officially retired at 6-7, 2-0, winning 75 percent of her points on first serve. With tears in her eyes, she left the court to a standing ovation. Alexandrova, who will face Petra Kvitova in the next round, came over to console a devastated Andreescu as her team prepared for her exit.
“I’ve never felt this kind of pain before,” Andreescu said in agony while the medical team approached.
The 22-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., suffered the injury during the third game of the second set while tracking down a shot.
Andreescu was off to an excellent start to the tournament, defeating Emma Raducanu 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in the Round of 128, before proceeding to knock off No. 7 Maria Sakkari 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, then defeating Sofia Kenin in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.
This is a potentially devastating injury for Andreescu, who was rounding into form with the summer schedule on the horizon. Andreescu had previously advanced to the Round of 32 in the Indian Wells Masters before losing in straight sets to No. 1 Iga Swiatek in a tightly contested match.
Andreescu has a lengthy history with long-term injuries, suffering a torn meniscus in October 2019, shortly after winning the U.S. Open against childhood hero Serena Williams. Andreescu did not play the entire 2020 season in large part due to the complications from the COVID-19 pandemic, then struggled through the 2021 season. Andreescu missed the opening three months of the 2022 season and struggled with a back injury towards the end of the year.
Andreescu said in a recent interview that she actually contemplated retiring from tennis in 2021.
“That was, honestly, about me wanting to figure out if I really wanted to continue playing tennis,” Andreescu told reporters on Sunday, per The Telegraph. “I was literally about to drop my rackets and say, ‘Screw this.’ I wasn’t happy at all and I wasn’t happy basically for the full year of 2021. I thought, if I continue like this, it’s just going to get worse.”
Those hardships from the past few years have helped Andreescu grow as both a player and a person.
“I’ve definitely learned a lot,” Andreescu told Sportsnet’s Vivek Jacob earlier this month. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot even in the past two months about myself, which is such a great thing about life, you’re constantly growing, you’re constantly learning. The main thing is I want to be able to feel good in my own skin whether I win a match or lose a match.”
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