Saudi-backed LIV Golf series faces 9/11 protest as it begins first tournament on US soil

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The Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series arrived successful Oregon for its archetypal tourney connected U.S. ungraded Thursday and faced protests from 9/11 survivors and victims' families who criticized golfers for moving with Saudi Arabia, who they accidental was complicit successful the 2001 violent attacks."Saudi Arabia is trying to sports-wash their reputation," Sean Passananti, whose begetter died successful the attacks, said successful a property league astatine the protestation astatine Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club extracurricular Portland, Oregon. "Instead of admitting their enactment and backing of al Qaeda, they are trying done the honorable crippled of play to bargain legitimacy."The allegations of Saudi authorities complicity with the attacks connected September 11, 2001, person agelong been the taxable of quality successful Washington. Fifteen of the 19 al Qaeda terrorists who hijacked 4 planes were Saudi nationals, but the Saudi authorities has denied immoderate engagement successful the attacks. The 9/11 Commission established by Congress said successful 2004 that it had recovered "no grounds that the Saudi authorities arsenic an instauration oregon elder Saudi officials individually funded" al Qaeda.Still, the victims' families person pushed for further disclosures, and past twelvemonth the FBI released a papers that details the FBI's enactment to analyse the alleged logistical enactment that a Saudi consular authoritative and a suspected Saudi quality cause successful Los Angeles provided to astatine slightest 2 hijackers.The 9/11 contented is conscionable 1 of a fig of criticisms of the LIV Golf series.Fronted by erstwhile satellite No. 1 Greg Norman, the team-based LIV bid is backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) -- a sovereign wealthiness money chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia -- and has pledged to grant $250 cardinal successful full prize money. Tournaments are held implicit 54 holes, alternatively than the PGA Tour's 72 holes, and determination are nary players chopped during tourney play.The immense sums of wealth up for grabs and little demanding requirements spurred a fig of golfers -- galore successful the twilight of their careers -- to interruption distant from the PGA Tour and articulation LIV, including six-time large victor Phil Mickelson, four-time large champion Brooks Koepka and erstwhile satellite No. 1 Dustin Johnson.LIV is expected to clasp six further events crossed the satellite successful the coming months, including astatine Trump National Golf Club successful Bedminster, New Jersey, arsenic good arsenic successful Boston, Chicago and Miami.A conjugation of families and survivors of 9/11 connected June 10 sent an unfastened missive to respective players competing successful the LIV Golf series, calling connected them to reconsider their participation.Brett Eagleson, whose begetter died connected 9/11, said astatine Thursday's property league helium plans to beryllium astatine Bedminster adjacent period to protest."One important connection to these LIV golfers and the Kingdom is that we're not going anywhere. Every tourney you're going to person to woody with america successful bigger numbers, much stories, from the families," Eagleson said. "We're going to beryllium successful your look for each tourney that is connected U.S. soil."Why the Saudi-backed LIV is controversialSaudi Arabia is 1 of a fig of countries that person utilized the entreaty of sports to effort to whitewash different governmental concerns, a signifier sometimes referred to arsenic "sportswashing."Golfers person faced crisp criticisms for choosing to judge the country's wealth fixed its dismal quality rights record.Bin Salman was named successful a U.S. quality study arsenic liable for approving the cognition that led to the 2018 execution of writer Jamal Khashoggi, though helium has denied involvement. Human rights groups person besides criticized the state for conducting wide executions and for its attraction of cheery people.Mickelson tried to reckon with these issues successful a arguable 2021 interrogation with writer Alan Shipnuck for his publication "Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf's Most Colorful Superstar."Shipnuck quoted Mickelson arsenic saying disparaging things astir Saudi Arabia's quality rights grounds and asserting that the kingdom killed Khashoggi. Yet Mickelson besides admitted that helium would see joining the league anyhow due to the fact that it gave golfers "leverage" to alteration however the PGA Tour operates.He aboriginal apologized, saying his comments were "reckless."US governmental figures person faced altogether akin criticisms for moving with Saudi Arabia. President Joe Biden erstwhile pledged to marque the state a "pariah" for its execution of Khashoggi, but earlier this period the White House said helium plans to conscionable with Saudi officials, including bin Salman, successful July.Despite the criticisms, LIV held its archetypal tourney successful London earlier this month. South African Charl Schwartzel won the inaugural idiosyncratic stroke-play competition, portion Mickelson finished successful 34th place.Earlier this month, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced that each golfers playing successful the breakaway bid volition nary longer beryllium eligible to enactment successful PGA Tour tournaments.LIV issued a connection successful aboriginal June calling the PGA's determination "vindictive.""It's troubling that the Tour, an enactment dedicated to creating opportunities for golfers to play the game, is the entity blocking golfers from playing," the enactment said. "This surely is not the past connection connected this topic. The epoch of escaped bureau is opening arsenic we are arrogant to person a afloat tract of players joining america successful London, and beyond."Monahan besides acknowledged past week that LIV represents a superior menace to the occurrence of the PGA Tour."If this is an arms contention and if the lone weapons present are dollar bills, the PGA Tour can't compete," helium said. "The PGA Tour, an American institution, can't vie with a overseas monarchy that is spending billions of dollars successful an effort to bargain the crippled of golf."We invited good, steadfast competition. The LIV Saudi Golf League is not that. It's an irrational threat; 1 not acrophobic with the instrumentality connected concern oregon existent maturation of the game."

The Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series arrived successful Oregon for its archetypal tourney connected U.S. ungraded Thursday and faced protests from 9/11 survivors and victims' families who criticized golfers for moving with Saudi Arabia, who they accidental was complicit successful the 2001 violent attacks.

"Saudi Arabia is trying to sports-wash their reputation," Sean Passananti, whose begetter died successful the attacks, said successful a property league astatine the protestation astatine Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club extracurricular Portland, Oregon. "Instead of admitting their enactment and backing of al Qaeda, they are trying done the honorable crippled of play to bargain legitimacy."

The allegations of Saudi authorities complicity with the attacks connected September 11, 2001, person agelong been the taxable of quality successful Washington. Fifteen of the 19 al Qaeda terrorists who hijacked 4 planes were Saudi nationals, but the Saudi authorities has denied immoderate engagement successful the attacks. The 9/11 Commission established by Congress said successful 2004 that it had recovered "no grounds that the Saudi authorities arsenic an instauration oregon elder Saudi officials individually funded" al Qaeda.

Still, the victims' families person pushed for further disclosures, and past twelvemonth the FBI released a papers that details the FBI's enactment to analyse the alleged logistical enactment that a Saudi consular authoritative and a suspected Saudi quality cause successful Los Angeles provided to astatine slightest 2 hijackers.

The 9/11 contented is conscionable 1 of a fig of criticisms of the LIV Golf series.

Fronted by erstwhile satellite No. 1 Greg Norman, the team-based LIV bid is backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) -- a sovereign wealthiness money chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia -- and has pledged to grant $250 cardinal successful full prize money. Tournaments are held implicit 54 holes, alternatively than the PGA Tour's 72 holes, and determination are nary players chopped during tourney play.

The immense sums of wealth up for grabs and little demanding requirements spurred a fig of golfers -- galore successful the twilight of their careers -- to interruption distant from the PGA Tour and articulation LIV, including six-time large victor Phil Mickelson, four-time large champion Brooks Koepka and erstwhile satellite No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

LIV is expected to clasp six further events crossed the satellite successful the coming months, including astatine Trump National Golf Club successful Bedminster, New Jersey, arsenic good arsenic successful Boston, Chicago and Miami.

A conjugation of families and survivors of 9/11 connected June 10 sent an unfastened missive to respective players competing successful the LIV Golf series, calling connected them to reconsider their participation.

Brett Eagleson, whose begetter died connected 9/11, said astatine Thursday's property league helium plans to beryllium astatine Bedminster adjacent period to protest.

"One important connection to these LIV golfers and the Kingdom is that we're not going anywhere. Every tourney you're going to person to woody with america successful bigger numbers, much stories, from the families," Eagleson said. "We're going to beryllium successful your look for each tourney that is connected U.S. soil."

Why the Saudi-backed LIV is controversial

Saudi Arabia is 1 of a fig of countries that person utilized the entreaty of sports to effort to whitewash different governmental concerns, a signifier sometimes referred to arsenic "sportswashing."

Golfers person faced crisp criticisms for choosing to judge the country's wealth fixed its dismal quality rights record.

Bin Salman was named successful a U.S. quality study arsenic liable for approving the cognition that led to the 2018 execution of writer Jamal Khashoggi, though helium has denied involvement. Human rights groups person besides criticized the state for conducting wide executions and for its treatment of cheery people.

Mickelson tried to reckon with these issues successful a arguable 2021 interview with writer Alan Shipnuck for his publication "Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf's Most Colorful Superstar."

Shipnuck quoted Mickelson arsenic saying disparaging things astir Saudi Arabia's quality rights grounds and asserting that the kingdom killed Khashoggi. Yet Mickelson besides admitted that helium would see joining the league anyhow due to the fact that it gave golfers "leverage" to alteration however the PGA Tour operates.

He aboriginal apologized, saying his comments were "reckless."

US governmental figures person faced altogether akin criticisms for moving with Saudi Arabia. President Joe Biden erstwhile pledged to marque the state a "pariah" for its execution of Khashoggi, but earlier this period the White House said helium plans to conscionable with Saudi officials, including bin Salman, successful July.

Despite the criticisms, LIV held its archetypal tourney successful London earlier this month. South African Charl Schwartzel won the inaugural idiosyncratic stroke-play competition, portion Mickelson finished successful 34th place.

Earlier this month, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced that each golfers playing successful the breakaway bid volition nary longer beryllium eligible to enactment successful PGA Tour tournaments.

LIV issued a connection successful aboriginal June calling the PGA's determination "vindictive."

"It's troubling that the Tour, an enactment dedicated to creating opportunities for golfers to play the game, is the entity blocking golfers from playing," the enactment said. "This surely is not the past connection connected this topic. The epoch of escaped bureau is opening arsenic we are arrogant to person a afloat tract of players joining america successful London, and beyond."

Monahan besides acknowledged past week that LIV represents a superior menace to the occurrence of the PGA Tour.

"If this is an arms contention and if the lone weapons present are dollar bills, the PGA Tour can't compete," helium said. "The PGA Tour, an American institution, can't vie with a overseas monarchy that is spending billions of dollars successful an effort to bargain the crippled of golf.

"We invited good, steadfast competition. The LIV Saudi Golf League is not that. It's an irrational threat; 1 not acrophobic with the instrumentality connected concern oregon existent maturation of the game."

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