Golfing great Greg Norman appeared to play down the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi ahead of the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf pro series.
“All this stuff about Saudi Arabia and Khashoggi and human rights, talk about it, but also talk about the good the country is doing by changing its culture,” Norman said at a LIV Golf event at the Centurion. Club in St. Albans, England. . Norman is President of LIV Golf.
“Listen, we’ve all made mistakes and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can fix them in the future,” Norman said, according to UK news outlets.
A US intelligence report named Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, as responsible for approving the operation that led to Khashoggi’s murder in 2018 – which bin Salman denies.
The country’s human rights record is also widely criticised: political dissidents, human rights and women’s rights activists, journalists and online critics have consistently been harassed, detained, prosecuted and incarcerated for speaking out against the Saudi government, according to Amnesty International and other international human rights groups.
“I haven’t had a personal conversation with MBS, I’ve never met the guy, but at the same time I read that the Saudi government has made its statements and comments on this and wants to go from forward,” Norman said. Wednesday.
Norman has previously said the lucrative Saudi-backed golf league is a “new opportunity” for players and the sport.
Earlier this week, LIV Golf, which debuts in June, revealed a new $2 billion investment and expanded event schedule on Tuesday.
The lucrative Saudi-backed Golf Series says the latest financial commitment “will be used to fund ongoing expansion and prize money for the new LIV Golf”.
Former world No. 1 Norman announced the formation of the new team-based professional golf league earlier this year.
The company, backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), pledges to award $250 million in total prize money while hosting eight tournaments, held from June to October.
The PGA Tour, in a memo dated Tuesday, denied players permission to participate in LIV Golf’s first event, citing scheduling conflicts.
The memo, which CNN obtained from the PGA Tour, says the opening event of the Saudi-backed golf series in London takes place the same week as the RBC Canadian Open, a PGA event. Round.
“We have notified those who applied that their application has been declined in accordance with PGA TOUR tournament rules,” the memo reads. “As such, TOUR members are not permitted to participate in the Saudi Golf League London event under our regulations.”
World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler said he hadn’t given much thought to the PGA Tour’s decision to deny golfers release waivers.
“If you’re playing here on the PGA TOUR, playing in something that might be a rival series to the PGA Tour, you’re a member of our Tour, that’s definitely not something we want our members to do. because it’s going to hurt the tournament that we have in front of it and that’s, I’m sure that’s why they were, why they didn’t release the players,” Scheffler said.
“Because if we have 15 guys going out there and playing, it hurts the RBC and the Canadian Open,” Scheffler added ahead of AT&T Byron Nelson’s first round.
Norman said LIV will “support” players wishing to participate in LIV Golf. When asked if his legal team had any injunctions in place to protect players against any bans, Norman replied: “Yes.”
“We’re going to support the players, we’re going to be there for them, whatever it is. We are ready to go. We don’t want to go, but we’re ready to go,” Norman added.
“It will be the choice of the player. I’m not going to blame a player who makes the decision to play where he wants. We give them the opportunity because we think LIV is here for a long time.
“If you want to go exclusively to the PGA Tour, happy days, go for it. I guarantee you a lot of people will end up coming to play with LIV Golf,” he said.
“I told the players, ‘we’ve got your back. Simple as that’. We’ll defend, we’ll reimburse and we’ll represent,” he added.