November 29, 2023

LIV move could impact NZ golfer’s Olympic selection

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Signing with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf league could impact New Zealand player Danny Lee’s selection chances for future Olympic Games.

The US-based professional has joined the controversial breakaway tour ahead of their new season, which gets underway in Mexico next week.

Lee, who has been ranked as high a 34th in the world but is now well outside the top 200, now faces being banned from the PGA and European Tours pending the outcome of their legal battles with the LIV league.

LIV events also remain unrecognised by the the Official World Golf Ranking.

A Golf New Zealand spokesperson said Lee joining LIV Golf didn’t impact his eligibility for the 2024 Paris Olympics, but the potential impact on his world ranking could affect his chances of selection.

They said there was no other impact from a Golf NZ perspective.

LIV Golf position themselves as a player-focused alternative to the PGA Tour, but critics label it a money grab and human rights groups have criticized it as sportswashing by the Saudi regime.

Lee is one of three new players to join the LIV team rosters, joining the Iron Heads GC team alongside captain Kevin Na.

The 32-year-old joins the likes of big name signings Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka on the tour backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund.

Lee has won just one PGA tour title, the Greenbrier Classic back in 2015, and has career earnings of $24 million.

He came to prominence in 2008 when he beat Tiger Woods’ mark as the youngest winner of the US Amateur Championship, when he had just turned 18, and turned professional the following year.


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