Facebook Twitter

Charles Barkley’s ties to LIV Golf, explained

‘Inside the NBA’ host and former Phoenix Suns superstar is playing in a LIV Golf series pro-am next week

SHARE Charles Barkley’s ties to LIV Golf, explained

Charles Barkley watches his tee shot on the second hole during the first round of the American Century Celebrity Championship golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Stateline, Nev., Friday, July 8, 2022.

Tom R. Smedes, Associated Press

As the feud between the PGA Tour and the LIV Golf Series continues to unfold, a former NBA superstar appears to have thrown in his lot with the Saudi-backed series.

Charles Barkley told the New York Post Thursday that he’ll play in a LIV Golf pro-am in New Jersey next week. The TNT analyst, known for being one of the hosts of “Inside the NBA,” is also in talks to be a broadcaster for the controversial new tour.

“LIV Golf wants to add Barkley as it further attempts to legitimize itself in its battle with the PGA Tour,” the Post reported.

The LIV Golf Series, which held its first tournament in June, is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. In recent months, it’s lured some big-name golfers, including Phil Mickelson, to leave the PGA Tour with promises of huge payouts.

“All eight LIV events will offer $25 million in prize money ($20 million to individual players, $5 million to teams) — the Masters offers $15 million. In other words, LIV Golf guarantees every player a six-figure pay day at each event — all 48 entries. There are no cuts,” the Deseret News reported last month.

Players like Mickelson and others involved with the new tour have been criticized for overlooking or downplaying Saudi Arabia’s alleged human rights abuses.

“The Saudi government ... has committed numerous human-rights violations. The most notable case in recent years was the assassination and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post reporter and outspoken critic of the Saudi government,” Golf.com reported in June.

Players who participate in the LIV Golf tour are facing punishment from the PGA Tour. Some, including Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia, have already resigned from the PGA Tour, according to NBC Sports.