Reason revealed why pro golf’s power struggle hints at broader societal shift

Reason revealed why pro golf’s power struggle hints at broader societal shift

For 175 years now, millions of us, representing every walk of life, have been drawn to professional golf for the civil-dogfight purity of it. Shoot the scores, get the prizes. And over all that time, the game has had a particular attraction to the rich and powerful, drawn to golf as Snooki is to the Jersey Shore. Golf as a capitalist’s tool. Golf as a well-trailed mountain for social climbing. Golf as a place to show off a soupçon of athletic ability.

(Caveat emptor: Be wary of writers dropping French and Latin into their copy when they have limited mastery over their native tongue. Be wary in general. Your correspondent knows nothing about Snooki, but he can vouch for the Jersey Shore’s bodysurfing and surfcasting opps.)

Enter Yasir Al-Rumayyan, a Saudi businessman of incalculable wealth and power but still seeking social status in some of golf’s better grill rooms and tee sheets. Yasir (easier) oversees the PIF’s funding of LIV Golf, which, from the day the league was announced, has been a perceived existential threat to the PGA Tour and its status as the king of the tours.

Enter Yasir Al-Rumayyan, a Saudi businessman of incalculable wealth and power but still seeking social status in some of golf’s better grill rooms and tee sheets. Yasir (easier) oversees the PIF’s funding of LIV Golf, which, from the day the league was announced, has been a perceived existential threat to the PGA Tour and its status as the king of the tours.

Enter Jimmy Dunne, American clubman and good stick, a self-made Wall Street success story. His stock-in-trade, to get it down to a single word, is charisma. As a member of the PGA Tour board of directors, Dunne had the idea that he could be a Lancelot or a Kissinger at a time when the PGA Tour needed some negotiating magic. He courted Yasir. In his opening salvo to him, that’s how he addressed him, first name only.

On Monday, in a New York City courtroom, prosecutors revealed a list of 54 names, people Trump had on speed dial. Pete Bevacqua, Waugh’s predecessor as the PGA of America CEO, was on the list, among other golf people. Larry Glick, who helps run Trump’s far-flung golf operations. John Nieporte, the head pro at the Trump course in West Palm Beach. Lou Rinaldi, a contractor, engineer and scratch golfer whom Trump calls “my cart-path guy.” (Trump takes pride in the quality of his cart paths; Rinaldi has paved miles of them.) And Jack Nicklaus, once one of Trump’s sworn enemies in business, dating back to Nicklaus’s role in the construction of Trump’s West Palm Beach course, but later one of Trump’s closest golf confidantes.

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