Saudi backed golf
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Watching the recent glut of golf tournaments being played in the Middle East, with virtually no fans watching the play on-course, I worry about the soul of golf. How many Arabs actually play golf? Why do the state funded institutions and corporations want to run professional golf championships? Money is the answer I hear most often from fellow golfers I have posed this question to. Greg Norman is active in the soulless Saudi backed golf league, which is involved in an acrimonious bid to poach high profile players from the US PGA Tour and the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour).

Will Saudi Violations Stain Golf’s Reputation?

My concerns about Saudi Arabia can be condensed into two words, Jamal Khashoggi. He was the journalist recently murdered by Saudi security agents at their embassy on Turkish soil. I might mention Osama Bin Laden, another prominent Saudi Arabian who was in the news a bit over the last couple of decades. Do we really want golf in the hands of this kingdom, where things go on with no concern for human rights and justice? If golf’s flagship is taken over by these faceless men, with Greg Norman as their puppet, it will damage the game of golf for all of us.

Too Much Money in Pro Golf

There is too much money in topline professional golf already. When touring professionals earn so much money, they quickly lose touch with those of us who play for the love of the game. This is not Norman’s first attempt at wrestling control from the PGA Tour, he tried it with backing from Rupert Murdoch in the 1990s. It seems his financial backers are getting more unsavoury as time goes by. Do we want golf associated with a nation guilty of human right’s violations? The Saudis are all about ‘sportswashing’, which is shifting the public focus from their transgressions to cheerful stories about sporting contests. They own football teams all around the globe, including Newcastle United in England’s Premier League.

Rumours report that around 17 top golfers have signed with LIV Golf, which is headed by Greg Norman. The PGA Tour has threatened their players with expulsion from the majors and Ryder Cup, if they sign with LIV Golf. Norman has talked about holding one of the events in Australia, in a bid to sweeten the local opinion on this breakaway tour. The players are being promised very big money, which appeals to many, I am sure. I suspect that it will attract quite a few older, already established stars like Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood – these guys would not really care about the sanctions from the main tours. They are at the end of their celebrated careers and topping up their bank balances would be the icing on the cake.

Donald Trump has put his hand up for his courses to host the events in the US. This new tour is really attracting the dodgy dealers and rats in the ranks. It will make golf stink for many neutral observers around the world. Do we really want golf associated with people like this? Golf is better than this. It is, in fact, a game based on the high integrity of those who play it. Most people want to get paid well for what they do. Paying players exorbitant appearance fees and ridiculous amounts of prize money distorts the worth of the game in the public eye. Golf is a great game. Too much money only sullies the whole thing. Tour players talk about loving the game, as their reason for becoming professionals, but this will distort things as too much money always does. You never get anything for nothing, these players will be owned by those who pay the piper. Soulless Saudi backed golf league is sportswashing and the stains will stick with golf.

©GolfDom

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