Charles Barkley plans to play in LIV Golf pro-am at Trump Bedminster event: report

The NBA commentator has said he’d consider working for the Saudi-backed tour.

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Charles Barkley watches his tee shot on the second hole during the first round of the American Century Celebrity Championship golf tournament.

Charles Barkley reportedly will play in a LIV Golf pro-am event.

Tom R. Smedes/AP

Over the last week, the LIV Golf Invitational Series has added three players and one fan-favorite analyst to its upstart team of talent. It appears the Greg Norman-led and Saudi Arabia-funded series is closing in on another beloved broadcaster.

On a recent episode of the Pat McAfee Show, 11-time NBA All-Star and current TNT analyst Charles Barkley said he’d “kill a relative” for $200 million in regards to the reported deals that PGA Tour players have received for joining LIV Golf. Last week Barkley confirmed he’d meet with LIV, and on Thursday, he told the New York Post that he’s playing in next week’s pro-am for the third event of the series at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

According to the Post, Barkley and Norman met for dinner in Atlanta Wednesday night and discussed what his role would be with LIV. The current LIV broadcast, which is only available via streaming, boasts former voice of the Premier League on NBC and Chicago Fire announcer Arlo White, who is in his first foray as a golf announcer. He’s joined in the booth by former Golf Channel analyst Jerry Foltz as well as Dom Boulet.

LIV Golf has long been criticized as a way for the Saudi government to sportswash its human rights record. Saudi Arabia has been accused of wide-ranging human rights abuses, including politically motivated killings, torture, forced disappearances and inhumane treatment of prisoners. And members of the royal family and Saudi government were accused of involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist.

“I told [Norman],” Barkley said in an interview with the Post, “‘Listen, they are making up words, like ‘blood money’ and ‘sports washing.’ I said, ‘We have all taken ‘blood money’ and we all have ‘sports washed’ something so I don’t like those words, to be honest with you.’

“If you are in pro sports, you are taking some type of money from not a great cause.”

LIV Golf offers 54-hole events with no cuts and guaranteed money for the 48-player fields, as well as multi-million dollar deals, some north of $100 million.

Unfortunately for Barkley, the players who joined the LIV series have largely struggled at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, outside of Dustin Johnson and a few others. Barkley’s good friend Mickelson shot 78-73 to finish 11 over after 36 holes.

Read more at usatoday.com

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