Category Archives: Saudi tour

Greg Norman, Digging His Hole Deeper and Deeper

This is going to be a difficult post to write. Not because of what I have to say, but because events will likely overtake it hours after it goes live and I’m not going to keep writing posts to stay with it all.

Greg Norman, the quintessential Australian alpha male, is shooting himself in the foot almost daily and it would be amusing to watch if it weren’t so tragic.

Norman’s latest salvo is in reference to the hit squad that Mohammed bin Salman sent to Istanbul to murder and dismember Jamal Khashoggi for the crime of publishing newspaper articles critical of the Saudi regime in general and MbS in particular.

Norman’s response? “From what I heard and what you guys reported, just take ownership of what it is. Take ownership no matter what it is. Look, we’ve all made mistakes, and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward.”

I have made mistakes I my life, but they did not involve murdering somebody.

As if Norman wants MbS to say:

“Oops! I shouldn’t have killed that guy. My bad! I’ll try to do better, O.K.? Now what say we all go grow the game of golf!”

Backpedalling furiously, LIV Golf released this statement:

“The killing of Jamal Khashoggi was reprehensible. Everyone agrees on that, including Greg, as he has said as such previously on many occasions. Greg also knows that golf is a force for good around the world and can help make inroads toward positive change. That is why he is so excited about LIV and that was the point he was making.”

So growing the game of golf in Saudi Arabia will change MbS to a kind, loving, benevolent despot.


See this article from Al Jazeera about even more stuff that teaching Saudis how to hit every fairway and every green won’t cure.

Greg, at some point you have to stop. We can see what you’re trying to with golf, and we have no argument with it. But you have attached yourself to some of the slimiest people on Earth to help you, and their slime is starting to stick to you.

Not that I care, really.

The Excuse for Saudi Complicity

I ranted a here and here about players wanting to play in Saudi Arabia, exchanging their sense of human decency for money.

At least Tiger Woods’s humanity can’t be bought.

Now the Super League, headed by Greg Norman, who should know better, but doesn’t, is attracting even more players who say they are athletes not politicians.

As if being an athlete also means you don’t know right from wrong.

Bryson DeChambeau and Shane Lowry are singled out in this article and podcast, but there are many more.

Disgraceful isn’t even the word. Golfers who playing the Super League and the upcoming Saudi International are part of the plan to whitewash a government that is an international pariah for crimes against humanity–the murder of Jamal Khasgoggi and the brutal war in Yemen.

That’s not politics. That is basic human decency, which these golfers are saying they will sell to the highest bidder to help Mohammed bin Salman and his government can whitewash his crimes.

Disgusting. Disgraceful. Unforgivable. Unconscionable. I can’t think of the right word to describe what certain professional golfers are doing.

A pox on them all.

It saddens me that this post has such limited each. I can only hope the the worldwide golfing press picks up the issue and goes down hard on the players who let themselves be used like this.

Why I Won’t Be Rooting for Justin Rose Today

… or Brooks Koepka.

Earlier this year, the Saudi Arabian government sponsored a golf tournament on the heels of the vicious murder of journalist and American resident Jamal Khashoggi.

When confronted with the Saudi crime, Justin Rose said, “I’m not qualified to speak on any other subjects, to be honest with you, on great detail or authority. I know people obviously have their opinions. It’s never straightforward.”

Actually, Justin, the brutal murder of a journalist is straightforward, especially to anyone who has a shred of human decency in their bones.

Koepka said, “People are always going to have different views on politics wherever you go. Hopefully, you can spread some goodwill through golf when you’re there.”

Or, to re-state having insert the facts, “People are always going to have different views on murdering, dismembering, and dissolving in a vat of acid the body of a journalist who writes articles critical of the Saudi regime wherever you go.”

Differing views on crimes against humanity. It’s all relative. If Koepka plays golf in Saudi Arabia he will spread goodwill and turn a toxic regime into hugs and bunnies.

Listen, guys, this is not politics. This is not about tax cuts or immigration bills or anything like that.

This is about cold-blood, pre-meditated murder that was sanctioned by Mohammed bin Salmann, the head of the Saudi state.

And you two guys didn’t get it, or at least couldn’t see around your seven-figure appearance fee.

Go, Gary Woodland.

The Saudi International

The Saudi International Golf Tournament starts later this week in Saudi Arabia, sponsored by a government that:

Murdered and dismembered Jamal Khashoggi, an act, according to U.S. intelligence agencies, that with “high confidence,” was carried out with the approval of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“High confidence” is term a intelligence agencies use to say, “We’re certain of this, but we don’t like to say certain. But we’re certain.”

Is prosecuting a proxy war in Yemen that is needlessly creating a major humanitarian crisis, the starvation of hundreds of thousands of Yemeni citizens.

Arrests, tortures, gives excessive prison sentences to, and even executes political dissidents.

Kidnapped the Lebanese Prime Minister in 2017.

Exfiltrates from the U.S., Saudi nationals studying in Oregon, arrested and facing criminal charges, flouting U. S. laws.

Yet, these golfers are signed up to play: Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, Henrik Stenson, and Bryson DeChambeau. You can see the full field here.

Rose commented, “I’m not a politician.”

Johnson commented, “Unfortunately, it’s in a part of the world where most people don’t agree with what happened, and I definitely don’t support anything like that.”

Most people would not agree with all this, Dustin? Most people? How about anyone in their right mind?

Sorry, guys, this isn’t about politics or what you don’t agree with or support.

Politics is about what federal income tax rates should be, or whether a wall should be built along our southern border. You can agree or disagree, support or not.

What’s happening in Saudi Arabia is different, It’s criminal. It is the crime of the state against individuals, and in the cases of Khashoggi and the Oregon exfiltrations, crimes against the concept of international sovereignty as well.

Mohammed bin Salman is a young man drunk on his own power, not only turning his country into a toxic state, but exporting its terror beyond its borders.

THAT is why playing in the Saudi International is a mistake that the participants have no good answer for.

I don’t expect professional gofers to be experts on current affairs or international relations.

I do expect them to be able to see outrageous behavior clearly and respond appropriately.

The money they say they are playing for?

In the fall of 2018 the Saudis sponsored a conference of world business leaders called the Future Investment Initiative. Following the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, these companies and individuals pulled out (not a complete list):

Fox Business Network
JP Morgan Chase
Blackstone Investment
Y Combinator
NY Times
LA Times
Ford Motor
The Financial Times
British Trade Secretary Liam Fox
PNB Paribas
Credit Suisse
Standard Chartered
Société Générale
The Economist
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim

These are business that stood to make LOTS of money in Saudi Arabia, and they washed their hands of partnerships for the time being.

But there’s money to be had, so golfers are going. Tell me, how much money is Jamal Khashoggi’s life worth to you?

You guys stand to make more money in one week than the vast majority of people in the world will make in their lifetime, yet you want more.

If what the Saudis are doing is not where you would draw the line, then where is it?

I would also ask, could the winning golfer, in good conscience, stand next to the Crown Prince for a photo at the end of the tournament? Would he really not know what stain that would place on his public image?

Tiger Turns Down Massive Saudi Offer

In the news this week, Tiger Woods turned down an offer from the Saudi government of $2.3 million to play in the European Tour’s upcoming Saudi International golf tournament.

Whether the rejection is based on scheduling conflicts or the like, or whether Woods is making a moral statement is not known.

But one thing is clear. The rejection is a blow to the prestige of a tournament the Saudi government uses to glorify its image worldwide. And that needs to happen more often now.

Since 32-year-old prince Mohammed bin Salman assumed power in the family-owned and operated country, he has acted in alarming ways not only inside his own country, but beyond its borders.

He directed the kidnapping of a foreign head of state, the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri a year ago.

Only after intense international pressure was Hariri was allowed to return to Lebanon

He is waging a brutally destructive proxy war in Yemen, creating a humanitarian crisis of unconscionable proportion.

And last month he had American resident and Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi murdered for the crime of writing dissenting articles, violating the national sovereignty of Turkey in the process.

MBS, as he is called, is acting like a Mafia don. The Khashoggi murder was to be his message that if you oppose me, no matter where you are, we will find you and … . You fill in the blank.

Also in October, the Saudi government held an international investment conference, from which executives from Uber, JPMorgan, management giants BlackRock and Blackstone Group, Google, Bloomberg, Financial Times, CNN, The New York Times, Economist, CNBC, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, AOL cofounder Steve Case, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, and U.S. Treausury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, backed out of attending following the Khashoggi murder. Virgin Group headed by Richard Branson backed out of a $1 billion dollar deal.

And Tiger Woods said “no”. My hat is off to him.

Not so much to European Tour CEO Keith Pelley, who said the Saudi tournament would go on as scheduled, certainly a public relations coup for the Saudis and an embarrassment for European golf.

It remains to be seen who shows up, if anybody.