Controversial Australian golf figure Greg Norman has slammed the PGA Tour in a staunch defense of the Saudi-backed LIV Series, branding criticism “hypocrisy” that’s “deafening”.
Norman is leading the breakaway series – which has also lured top American golfers Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, among other big names – and copped backlash due to the human-rights abuse perpetrated by the Saudi regime.
“This is Saudi blood money,” said American sportscaster Bob Costas.
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“We know all we need to know about the (Saudi Arabia) royal family and what they have done. It’s not just (murdered journalist Jamal) Khashoggi, it’s not just the ongoing oppression of women and gays; they’re directly or indirectly tied – according to US and British intelligence – to the 9/11 event.”
Norman hits back in an interview on Fox News.
“Look, if they want to look at it in prism, then why does the PGA Tour have 23 sponsors within the PGA Tour doing 40-plus billion dollars worth of business with Saudi Arabia?” Norman said.
“Why is it OK for the sponsors? Why is it OK … that there’s a Saudi sponsor, Aramco, the largest sponsor of women’s golf in the world? Why is it OK for them? Why is it not OK for these players? Will ( PGA Tour commissioner) Jay Monahan go to each and every one of those CEOs of the 23 companies that are investing into Saudi Arabia and suspend them and ban them?
“The hypocrisy in all this – it’s so loud, it’s deafening.”
All golfers who’ve joined the LIV Series have been barred from competing on the PGA Tour.
“The European PGA Tour … (has) a golf tournament, the Saudi International, that’s still in existence since 2019,” Norman said.
“And during that Saudi International, there were PGA Tour players who were given rights and waivers to go play there. So to me, if golf is good for the world, golf is good for Saudi, and you’re seeing that growth internally. It’s extremely impressive.”
Mickelson confirms defection to LIV golf tour
Mickelson, a six-time major champion, defended himself after families of 9/11 victims blasted his decision to side with the LIV Series.
“I saw the value and what golf can bring around the world,” Mickelson said.
“So from there I said: ‘Yes, this is a great platform and it’s a commercial operation’. We’re in it for a reason: to make golf and grow golf on a successful level and on behalf of the players. They’ re independent contractors. Give them an opportunity to be able to expand their wealth at their choice.
“But also at the same time, maybe our platform is a little bit better because it gives them more time with their family, like there was (South African golfer) Charl Schwartzel with his wife and kids.
“Their platform gives them that opportunity and it is a choice.”
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