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Golf

LIV Golf boss Greg Norman says “we’ve all made mistakes” when asked about Khashoggi killing

Greg Norman is the face of the big-money LIV Golf venture, which is facing scrutiny due to its funding by Saudi Arabian investors.

Update:
Greg Norman faces backlash over Khashoggi comments
GLYN KIRKAFP

Greg Norman addressed Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying: “We’ve all made mistakes.”

Former golf world number one Norman is chief executive of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Investments. He insists that the business is independent and not answerable to Saudi Arabia, and has described the killing of Khashoggi as “reprehensible”.

Norman was speaking after accusing the PGA Tour of being “anti-golfer, anti-fan, and anti-competitive” for denying players permission to enter the opening LIV Golf Invitational series event next month.

The Australian, who twice won the Open Championship, is facing regular questioning about the Saudi funding of the new series, in light of widespread outrage over the death of Khashoggi and concerns raised over the country’s human rights record.

Norman said of Khashoggi’s 2018 death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul: “Everybody has owned up to it, right? It has been spoken about, from what I’ve read, going on what you guys reported. 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.”

US intelligence chiefs concluded in 2021 that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the mission to capture or kill Khashoggi. Bin Salman has strenuously denied this, but has said that “as a leader I must take responsibility”.

Norman: Saudi Arabia is “making a cultural change”

In an interview with Sky Sports News, Norman said: “It’s reprehensible what’s happened with Khashoggi” and that Saudi Arabia is “making a cultural change”.

They want to change that culture and they are changing that culture, and you know how they’re doing it? Golf,” he said.

When it was pointed out to Norman that this appeared to be a case of “sportswashing”, the 67-year-old denied this was the case, saying: “I’m not talking about sportswashing. They’re changing their culture within their country.”

Asked about reports of 81 men being executed in one day in Saudi Arabia in March 2022, Norman said: “I’m not going to get into politics. I don’t want to get into that. But every country’s got a cross to bear.”

Norman on Tuesday revealed that the LIV Golf series had secured an additional $2billion in funding ahead and stated that several top players had said they would play without a release. The PGA Tour and European Tour have been reluctant to allow top stars to play in the inaugural LIV Golf event at Centurion Club from June 9-11.

Asked about the Saudi money and reminded of the country’s human rights record, Norman said: “They’re not my bosses, we’re independent. I don’t answer to Saudi Arabia, I don’t answer to MBS [Bin Salman].”

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