Greg Norman, the head of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series, has defended the competition with widespread criticism from celebrities throughout the sport.
Golfers such as Norman, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson who have chosen to participate in the Breakaway series have been criticized for human rights abuses by the Saudi Arabian administration. In the United States, renowned sports caster Bob Costas provided a depleted rating for the LIV series. “This is Saudi blood money,” he said last week. “We know everything we need to know about the royal family and what they did. That’s not all. [Jamal] Khashoggi, it is not only the continuous repression of women and homosexuals, but according to US and British intelligence, they are directly or indirectly linked to the 9.11 incident. “
The PGA Tour has banned golfers from participating in the LIV series. During a Saturday appearance on Fox News, Norman said the decision was hypocritical given that the tour itself had something to do with Saudi Arabia.
“Look, if they want to see it on the prism, why does the PGA Tour have 23 sponsors within the PGA Tour, which has a business of over $ 40 billion with Saudi Arabia? Is it okay? Why is it okay … Why are there sponsors of Saudi Ramco, the world’s largest female golf sponsor? Why is it okay for them? Why isn’t it OK for these players? Will [PGA Tour commissioner] Will Jay Monahan go to each of the 23 CEOs investing in Saudi Arabia and suspend and ban them? … All this hypocrisy, it’s so noisy. It’s like deafening. “
Rory McIlroy, who has rejected the LIV series, recently shot Norman, saying he had a special pleasure in passing the total number of wins on the Australian PGA Tour. However, Norman said golf had been happy with the deal with Saudi Arabia for years.
“Europe PGA Tour … [has] Golf tournament, Saudi International, it still exists since 2019, “Norman said. “And during that Saudi International there was a PGA Tour player who was given the right and exemption to play there. So for me, if golf is good for the world, golf is good for Saudi Arabia, too. You see that growth internally. It’s very impressive. “
This month, Mickelson was forced to defend himself after the family of the victims of 9/11 attacked his decision to join the withdrawal league. Norman argues that the league can benefit golf.
“I saw the value that golf brings to the world and what it can bring,” he said. “So I said,” Yes, this is a great platform and a commercial operation. “There is a reason we are in it. To make golf successful and to grow golf on behalf of the player. They are independent contractors. Give them the opportunity to expand their wealth with their choices. But at the same time, our platform may be a bit better as it spends more time with the family, as Charl Schwartzel had with his wife and children. Their platform gives them that opportunity and it’s a choice. “
After the opening event in London, the series will move to the United States with tournaments in Portland and Bedminster. The Bedminster Course is owned by Donald Trump and is currently investigating his role in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.