Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Portland informed members about the LIV event on March 16 via emailPumpkin Ridge Golf Club
Escalante Golf, which owns and operates Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club outside of Portland, “cut a lucrative back-room deal with a controversial Saudi-funded golf tour” and it did so “without consulting club members or its Advisory board,” according to sports Reporter John Canzano. Escalante “took the money and signed on to host” an LIV Golf Invitational Series event on July 1-3 at Pumpkin Ridge, but a long line of members at the club “aren’t happy.” One member said, “I don’t know any member who thinks this is good for the club.” Pumpkin Ridge “informed members” about the LIV event on March 16 via email. The “ham-handed announcement described the golf event as‘ unique and unprecedented. ’” It also informed members that the course “would be shutting down for eight days in the heart of the prime golf season” in order to “make course Improvements.” Pumpkin Ridge is not the only course owned by Escalante that “committed to the LIV Golf Invitational Series” at The International Golf Club near Boston “will host the same series” Sept. 2-4. There are “growing concerns about course security and potential protesting.” Community leaders also have “discussed how to deal with what will certainly be a tumultuous and emotional weekend” at Pumpkin Ridge (JOHNCANZANO.SUBSTACK.com, 3/29).
NO REAL POWER: Golf Digest’s Joel Beall writes one unanswered question “will have ramifications” on LIV Golf and the PGA Tour moving forward and the game at large: “How will the major Championships handle players who defect the Saudi league?” For all of the PGA Tour’s power and jurisdiction, the “undeniable and uncomfortable truth” is the Tour has “no authority over golf’s four biggest men’s tournaments.” Moreover, the Tour is “beholden to what happens at those four events.” While in Augusta National, the USGA and R&A “issued statements supporting the PGA Tour and the then-European Tour” in May ’21, those statements “did not address the playing status of those who defect.” Only the PGA of America “was direct in its answer,” with CEO Seth Waugh stating that those who joined the Rival League “would not be allowed in future PGA Championships or Ryder Cups.” Sources confirmed that no such actions are “expected” for the ’22 PGA Championship at Southern Hills. Similarly, the ’22 Masters field “boasts names that continued to be associated with LIV Golf.” There is a sense that Masters Chair Fred Ridley has “more freedom to take a stand in this matter.” As for the other three majors, sources point to a possible response to “restrict players connected to LIV Golf from playing that works within the present system: changing exemption and qualification criteria” (GOLFDIGEST.com, 3/30).