Standouts of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series defended the upstart tour from new criticism Thursday, while Bryson DeChambeau says he expects eventual compromise with the US PGA Tour.
The LIV Golf Chicago Invitational tees off Friday at Rich Harvest Farms in suburban Sugar Grove, Illinois, with 48 players chasing a $4-million top prize from a $25-million purse in the fifth event of the inaugural season.
LIV Golf has caused turmoil in the golf world by luring away many of the PGA Tour's biggest names with record prize money and fewer events, despite criticism the series acts as cover for a dismal Saudi human rights record.
The latest rebuke came Thursday from US Senator Dick Durban of Illinois, who tweeted his unhappiness at the event being hosted in his home state.
"This weekend, a golf glove will try and cover a blood-stained hand as the LIV golf tournament comes to Chicago in the Saudi government's continued, desperate attempt to clean up its image," Durban wrote.
India's Anirban Lahiri, who left the PGA Tour earlier this month, said LIV is doing good for the sport and host areas.
"We're all just here to play golf," Lahiri said. "What people have witnessed in terms of the golf speaks for itself. I'm not going to comment on anything political.
"There's a lot of good happening, but no one is talking about it."
Chile's Joaquin Niemann defended his choice to leave for LIV, saying, "Once I got here, I realized it was the best decision I could have made."
DeChambeau, the 2020 US Open winner, said the continuing controversy was "something that hopefully we'll get figured out over the course of time."
The PGA Tour has suspended players who jump to LIV Golf indefinitely, with stars such as Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods saying they don't want to see LIV players in PGA events.
An antitrust lawsuit by LIV players against the PGA is not set for trial until 2024.
In the meantime, DeChambeau sees a resolution between LIV and the PGA eventually, even with both sides hardened in their positions at the moment.