Greg Norman on the killing of the Saudi journalist: We all made mistakes


The junior LIV Golf Invitational Series, the proposed Saudi-backed competitor on the PGA Tour, continues to suffer setbacks after setbacks, some outside and some self-made.

Earlier this week, both the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour) indicated they would not be giving their players to play in the inaugural LIV Golf event early next month. On Wednesday, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman threw gasoline on the fire He appears to be downplaying the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggisaying, in the Times, “We’ve all made mistakes.”

Norman attempts to frame LIV Golf as a non-political project entirely connected to the sport. But given that LIV Golf is backed by the Saudi government’s Public Investment Fund, with up to several billion dollars being pledged, critics question how Norman and many players from both old rounds could ally with a regime that has held fast to many enduring human rights. violations.

Among the most prominent crimes are the killing of Khashoggi, who is residing in the United States, and the Washington Post journalist, who was kidnapped and dismembered in 2018 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Human rights organizations and intelligence services indicated that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, head of the Public Investment Fund, signed the killing. Salman denied the accusation but noted that he had taken “full responsibility” as the nation’s leader. This, it seemed, was enough to satisfy Norman.

After pressing the Khashoggi murder, Norman tried to dismiss the question. He said, “Everyone owned it, right? It’s been talked about, from what you’ve read, and what you guys have benefited from. Get ownership, no matter what it is. Look, we’ve all made mistakes and you just want to learn from those and how you can correct them in the future.” the future “.

Recently, Saudi Arabia They executed 81 people in a mass execution On the twelfth of March, which sparked international criticism. Norman also sought to avoid questions about that incident.

“I’ve had a lot of messages but I’m honestly looking forward,” he said. “I don’t look back. I don’t look at the politics of things. I won’t get bogged down in anything else going on in someone else’s world. I heard about it and kept moving forward.”

As Norman moves forward, human rights advocates and critics of the Saudi regime are not. A.I. has clashed with longtime Ryder Cape star Lee Westwood, who defends his decision to play LIV events due to the massive amounts of money involved.

“It is clear that Lee Westwood has a right to his say about the degree to which sport and politics should be mixed, but with the Saudi authorities pouring huge sums of money into golf and other sports precisely to wash away their shattered international image of the sport, it is clear that golf tournaments like this She is already political through and through,” Amnesty International said in a statement.

Riyadh’s new love for sports promotion came at a time when Saudi authorities carried out mass executions, many human rights defenders were imprisoned in the kingdom, and when Saudi missiles were still raining on civilians in Yemen.

“We urge all golfers who tend to play in Saudi-funded tournaments to think about how sports washing works and how they can break its spell by speaking out about human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. The persecuted human rights community in Saudi Arabia will be bitterly disappointed. If well-paid golf stars take money from LIV Golf but remain silent about what is happening in Saudi Arabia.”

Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson are among those who have sought playable versions at LIV Golf events. It was Mickelson’s own comments about Khashoggi’s death, brandishing them in service of his intent to harm the PGA Tour, that led to his actual current denial.

“They are scary mothers – to take part in it,” Mickelson told biographer Alan Shipbuck. We know that they killed Khashoggi and they have an appalling human rights record. They execute people there for being gay. Knowing all this, why am I even thinking about it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour works.”

Mickelson has not played since early February and has not made a public statement since later that month. He is still on the field for next week’s PGA Championship, the tournament he won last year at the age of 50.

The first Golf Leaf event is scheduled for June 9-11 at English Club Centurion, with a $4 million winner’s purse. By contrast, the 2022 Masters paid $2.7 million to winner Scottie Scheffler.

Eight events in total are on the LIV schedule for 2022, ending at Trump National Doral in Miami in October. Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia She pledged an additional $2 billion to the projectaiming to expand to a full roster of 14 events in both 2024 and 2025.

Greg Norman at LIV Golf press conference.  (Glen Kirk/Getty Images)

Greg Norman at LIV Golf press conference. (Glen Kirk/Getty Images)

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Jay Busby is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at jaybusbee or reach out to him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com.

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