Paul Casey is the latest star to defect to LIV Golf, but he has come under more criticism than most. George Cooper explains why

Where to even begin with this one.

The second LIV Golf Invitational took place in Portland this weekend and again the event produced more drama off the course than it did on it.

There were a series of bizarre interviews – Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson now committed to revelling in their role as the sport’s shameless bad boys – while the golf did pick up as Branden Grace pipped Carlos Ortiz to the mouth-watering $4 million first prize. Talor Gooch then ended proceedings by saying just about the most ludicrous thing he could possibly have said.

But among that, LIV’s latest bonanza was overshadowed by the news that the breakaway league had lured in another star to their ever-growing roster. Just like at Centurion with Mr Patrick Reed, LIV decided to interrupt their coverage and announce the acquisition – only this one ruffled more than just a few feathers, especially to the British faithful.

Cringe aside, Paul Casey moving to LIV Golf is, on paper, hardly a surprise. The Englishman is 44, has been hampered by a back injury for the best part of a year, and hasn’t recorded a win on tour since January 2021.

And yet, his defection may come as the most shocking, unashamed, disheartening U-turn of them all.

A little under three years ago, Casey – an ambassador for UNICEF – declined to play in Saudi Arabia, the state funding LIV Golf. When quizzed on the matter, Casey said: “Signing a deal and being paid to be down there, I would be a hypocrite if I did that.

“Anyone who says sport isn’t political, that’s rubbish. I’m glad I took a stance, more so if it highlighted the issues within the region.”

How times have changed.

But unlike Johnson and Koepka, who initially pledged allegiance to the PGA Tour before their change of heart, Casey’s U-turn carries ethical implications. From a golfing perspective, the move is completely understandable. Good luck to him. But given his previous comments, the World No 26 will now do well to diminish the self-inflicted “hypocrite” label.

On top of that, like his British comrades, Casey’s Ryder Cup future now seems all but dead. Although given his topsy-turvy relationship with the competition – Casey made himself ineligible from several tournaments due to refusing to take up membership with the DP World Tour – this is surely the last of his worries.

Casey is scheduled to play at The Open next – where he will be making his long-awaited return from injury. It’s then on to Trump National in late July, where the Englishman will join up with DeChambeau and co for LIV Bedminster.

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