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Saudi Arabia’s inaugural LIV Golf tournament debuted yesterday in London, the first event in the country’s newly launched professional golf series. Financed by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund (see 101), the organization has made waves for its aggressive recruitment of the sport’s biggest stars.

The league is viewed as a direct rival to the US-based PGA Tour and has been criticized as an effort to “sportswash”—or soften—the country’s image in the face of a track record of human rights violations.

Seventeen current and former PGA Tour members have been suspended for their participation in the LIV Golf event. The list includes Hall-of-Famer Phil Mickelson, 2020 Masters champion Dustin Johnson, and more. 

The eight events on the tour have a combined purse of $225M, with this weekend’s tournament winner taking home $4M and the last place golfer raking in $120K. For comparison, Justin Thomas earned $2.7M for winning the PGA Championship in May.