Say what you will about LIV Golf, but it’s impossible to deny the upstart league hasn’t mastered the art of stirring up controversy since it officially set out to take on the PGA Tour last year.
Critics of the Saudi-backed venture have routinely trotted out the “sportswashing” label that can be traced back to the country’s fairly questionable human rights track record, and we’ve been treated to plenty of petty drama thanks to the bad blood between many of the players who’ve defected and those who’ve remained loyal to the PGA.
Now, LIV has found itself under fire yet again—although the root of the current issue stems from a fairly unlikely source.
Next week, the league will be setting up shop at The Gallery Golf Club in Tuscon, Arizona for a three-day event slated to kick off on March 17th.
However, organizers have already descended upon the course to get it ready for the tournament, which includes the installation of a number of temporary structures that will accommodate spectators.
That includes the hospitality tent that required the workers tasked with setting it up to do a bit of landscaping in order to accommodate its size—which AZ Central reports came at the expense of two Saguaro cactuses that were cut down with chainsaws earlier this week.
That development caused a bit of a stir, as that particular species of cactus—which can live between 150 and 175 years—is protected under state law. While property owners do have the right to move or cut down any Saguaro cacti on their land, they must first obtain a permit from the Arizona Department of Agriculture (which did not happen in this instance).
The Gallery Golf Club placed the blame on the landscaping company it accused of cutting down the cactuses without permission, and while the Department of Agriculture could ultimately dole out a $5,000 fine for each of the two violations, something tells me LIV will be able to afford to pay it if that ends up being the case.