The controversial LIV golf tour could play a tournament at the Doonbeg resort in Co Clare owned by former US president Donald Trump, his son Eric has said.
Speaking to The Irish Times during his father’s visit to the Co Clare resort, Mr Trump said there was “no question” the Doonbeg course was of a standard to host tour events, and that the Trump Organisation had spoken “indirectly” to LIV about holding one of its tournaments at the west of Ireland course. “They know it is an option and we would love to have them over here. I think this course is incredibly well suited for them if they ever chose to come over.”
Mr Trump, the former US president’s second son who runs the family’s golf interests, said they would “certainly be open” to the links course hosting a LIV event if they decide to host a tournament in Ireland. “They have been fantastic for the game of golf. They have gone in and put a tremendous amount of excitement and energy into golf,” he said.
LIV golf has been criticised for “sportswashing”. The breakaway professional golf tour is bankrolled by the Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. Critics say it is part of a wider effort to improve the reputation of the influential desert kingdom, which has been criticised for human rights abuses, gender discrimination and other issues.
“We have got a great relationship with them [LIV Golf],” Mr Trump junior said. “They’re in three locations of ours this year, two last year, many more next year. So if that opportunity is right... they move their locations around the world, they want to be in different countries, they want to get maximum exposure and I think that’s again a really good thing for the game of golf.”
The Doonbeg course was designed by Greg Norman, who is chief executive of LIV. The breakaway tour has been strongly opposed by some high-profile golfers, including Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and US golfer Tiger Woods.
Mr Trump strongly disputed any suggestion his father was “in hiding” from an array of legal challenges he is facing in the United States, having travelled to visit his golf clubs in Scotland and Ireland this week. “Excuse me, he came to Ireland for 24 hours, he just did a press conference for you on the first green of a golf course, does that look like he’s in hiding? C’mon,” he said.
On Thursday Donald Trump launched a blistering attack on E Jean Carroll, the US writer who is accusing him of rape in a civil case in New York. He said it was a “political attack”.
“It’s a disgrace but I have to do it, that’s part of life. It’s a fake claim, just like all the other fake claims,” he said in Co Clare, also targeting the judge hearing the case.