Well, that wasn’t in the script!
Tensions boiled over on the opening day of the LIV Golf Invitational Series as a reporter was apparently ejected – then re-admitted – to the tournament at the Centurion Club.
Rob Harris, of the Associated Press, challenged officials from the new Saudi-funded, Greg Norman-fronted golf circuit at the end of a press conference featuring Kevin Na, Talor Gooch, James Piot and Sihwan Kim.
Aggrieved at not having been given the opportunity to ask a question, Harris loudly complained that the press conference had been ended five minutes earlier than scheduled – it lasted 25 minutes instead of the allotted 30 – whilst there were still people waiting to ask questions.
As the stunned players and officials – including former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer – exited the media centre out of a side door, Harris attempted to follow them but found his way blocked by another LIV official.
In another presser earlier in the day, Harris had attempted to ask Fleischer about a tweet he posted in 2011 – in which Flescher claimed that Saudi Arabia was spending hundreds of billions so that they wouldn’t be overthrown – only to receive short shrift from George W. Bush’s former staffer.
As tensions escalated following the second presser of the day, Harris was heard to ask Fleischer if he was “accepting blood money”.
A short time later, he appeared to be escorted from the building only to re-appear a short time later.
The incident overshadowed a remarkable first morning for the series – and, indeed, men’s professional golf – that saw former world No.1 Dustin Johnson announce his resignation from the PGA Tour in order to commit fully to LIV.
The 54-hole tournament gets under way on Thursday.