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Former President Trump took the start at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ on Thursday morning for the LIV Golf pro-am event ahead of the Saudi-backed league’s third tournament of the season this weekend.
Trump took a few practice swings before being greeted with a round of applause as he headed off to the first hole of the event where he will play alongside his son Eric Trump, 24-time PGA winner Dustin Johnson Tour, and 2020 US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau.
Other names appearing on the official pro-am list include Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner and Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley.
Trump and former first lady Melania Trump attended LIV Golf’s welcome party at Gotham Hall in Manhattan on Wednesday night, where the former president was spotted talking to LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman.
Despite the tour’s ties to Saudi Arabia, Trump hailed the new league as “one of the hottest things to happen in sports.”
“I think the publicity they’ve gotten, more than anything, has been a good thing for them,” Trump said Monday in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “I think the publicity they’ve received is worth billions of dollars. It’s one of the hottest things to happen in sports, and sports are a big part of life.”
Earlier this month, Trump warned the PGA Tour faithful of a potential missed opportunity.
“All of those golfers who remain ‘faithful’ to the very treacherous PGA, in all its various guises, will pay a heavy price when the inevitable MERGER with LIV arrives, and you’ll get nothing but a big ‘thank you’ PGA officials making millions of dollars a year,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.
LIV Golf is offering a $25 million purse with a $4 million winner’s share and a $5 million prize for the winning team at each event. Players like Johnson and DeChambeau also received lucrative signing bonuses.
Wednesday, LIV Golf has announced its 2023 calendar which includes 14 tournaments and a total purse of $405 million.
Fox News’ Joe Morgan contributed to this report.