BEDMINSTER, NJ — LIV Golf now has a sixth Masters champion on its roster of talent.
After reports broke Wednesday night, the upstart series led by Greg Norman and backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund announced Bubba Watson as its newest player on Friday during its first-round stream of the LIV Golf Invitational Series at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.
Watson has missed significant time this season with a torn meniscus, and has not earned a win since the 2018 Travelers Championship. The 43-year-old has since fallen to No. 86 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Watson won’t play this year due to his injury and wants “to be 100%” before he joins the league in 2023.
He joins the group of Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Charl Schwartzel, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia as the green-jacket winners who now play for LIV.
LIV Golf has long been criticized as a way for the Kingdom to wash 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.
“Yeah, it’s one of those things where I love to travel and I wanted to travel somewhere else. And in Saudi Arabia, they’re trying to change. They started with women’s golf, started supporting the women’s golf and then they started supporting men’s golf,” Watson said to Golf Magic in 2021 regarding the Saudi International event. “Again, you know, the charity dollars is what’s most important, so the more money I can get in my hands, the more I can give away. So it’s an honor and a privilege if they let me go over there and play.”
Story originally appeared on GolfWeek