Golfers criticized - participating in Saudi sponsored event

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ASPartOfMe
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15 Jun 2022, 9:11 am

Saudi-backed LIV Golf tournament accused of ‘sportswashing’

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A splashy new golf tournament, which attracted some of the biggest players in the game and launched in London last week, has become the latest example of what detractors call "sportswashing," the practice of sanitizing the reputation of a country or corporation using expensive and high-profile sporting events.

In this case the tournament sponsor is the government of Saudi Arabia, which is backing the event with $2 billion from its Public Investment Fund, according to Forbes. At issue is that the Saudi government has been accused of numerous human rights violations over the years, including the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

The tournament will unfold over the next four months, with games at eight different courses including former President Donald Trump’s courses in Bedminster, England, and Miami. Other sites include Boston; Chicago; Portland, Oregon, Bangkok and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, according to the league's website.

Last week, the PGA announced that 17 players, including golf legends Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, would not be allowed to compete in the PGA this season because of their participation in LIV events.

“These players have made their choice for their own financial-based reasons,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement on Thursday. The PGA has penalized them because they did not obtain the necessary clearance to play in a tournament that is hosting events in North America.

Monahan left it uncertain whether these players would be able to compete in the future, saying only that “we’re prepared to deal with those questions.”

In a statement to ABC News, a spokesperson for the PGA said “the PGA TOUR’s decision to suspend has no connection to the Saudi funding. We’re simply upholding our Tournament Regulations and doing what is in the best interest of the entire membership and the TOUR as a whole.”

At least four players, including Dustin Johnson, have already resigned from the PGA Tour, the New York Times reported.

Commentators have been drawing comparisons between the LIV Tournament and Nazi Germany hosting the Olympics in 1936.


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cyberdad
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15 Jun 2022, 5:09 pm

This reminds me of the old days when many pro-golfers took money from cigarette companies or played on invitation from pariah states like South Africa.