The LIV Golf tour and its event venue have come under fire after video surfaced online of landscapers cutting down two cactuses in Arizona to make room for an upcoming tournament’s hospitality tents, news outlets reported.
The video shows men breaking down the saguaro cactuses with a chainsaw and using a pitchfork to dispose of the pieces.
McClatchy News reached out to The Gallery Golf Club on March 7 and was awaiting a response.
Saguaro cactuses can grow to be about 50 feet tall and have a life span between 150 and 175 years, according to the National Park Service.
The plant is protected by the Native Plant Protection Act, according to the National Park Service. Anyone who wants to remove the plant must get permission “granted by the landowner and a permit must be obtained from the Arizona Department of Agriculture.”
“I was just taken back, I couldn’t believe it happened,” Parker told 13 News.
Now, the Arizona Department of Agriculture is investigating the issue.
“The AZDA did not identify records of a permit or notice of intent for The Gallery Golf Club to cut down the two saguaros, and we are currently conducting an investigation related to this action,” Heather Flowers, assistant director of the department’s Strategic Initiatives and Policy, told the Arizona Republic.
Jeremy Duda, general manager of the club that may face a $5,000 fine, said everyone thought the cactuses would be relocated, according to the outlet.
“That’s what we were told, and they ended up chopping them down without our permission,” Duda told the Arizona Republic.
Duda told the outlet that the club plans on replacing the saguaros once the tournament is over.
Those who heard about the incident want someone to be held accountable.
“To see them cut down for a basically three-day golf tournament and those guys after three days are going to pack up their things and be gone and these saguaros will be in a dumpster somewhere,” Michael Smith told 13 News. “I didn’t like that and I hope the people in this community don’t put up with it.”
Marana is about 90 miles southeast of Phoenix.