Greg Norman

LIV Golf is playing before sellout crowds in Australia this weekend, thanks in large part to Greg Norman.

Norman, LIV Golf chairman and CEO, is a national hero in his native Australia. That explains why there’s been such a buzz at The Grange Golf Club in Adelaide, with ticket sales and enthusiasm that has been lacking in U.S.-based LIV events.

Yet even there, in his native country, Norman can’t dodge questions about his involvement with the Saudi-backed league. The Saudi regime has been called out for numerous human rights violations in recent years. One of the main LIV Golf defectors from the PGA Tour, Phil Mickelson, infamously called the Saudi government “scary ————-” last year.

A reporter asked Norman if he had talked to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about the country’s human rights record. When Norman said he had not, he was asked why.

“Because I’m the chairman and CEO of LIV Golf Investments, and that’s where I focus. I focus on golf,” Norman said (via The Guardian). “I’ve been involved with golf … as a player, as well as golf course design. I’ve built golf courses in third-world countries. I’ve built golf courses in Communist countries.”

“Golf is a force for good. It goes everywhere with the right platform because it delivers the right message, from education to hospitality to employment to tourism. Everywhere you go, golf is a force for good.”

South Australia’s Premier Peter Malinauskas agreed with Norman that LIV Golf should be viewed as a separate entity outside the shadow of Saudi abuses.

LIV is not a representative of Saudi Arabia. LIV is a golf tournament,” Malinauskas said (via The Guardian). “It’s shaking things up, and I think that’s a good thing.”

[The Guardian]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.