When a golfer hits an errant shot that might knock an unsuspecting spectator over the head, the appropriate warning shout is: “Fore!” But what are they screaming when they hit a bad shot that bounces around and hits the golfer on the noggin?
Worse than the golfers’ unsightly money, however, is their unbearable dishonesty, trying to launder their grasp of what is literally blood money.
In the polite world of golf – where there is a rule of etiquette to cover all eventualities – this boomerang hit has rarely, if ever, happened, so there was no need for a clubhouse saying. to govern the appropriate warning cry…until now. This spring, a small group of professional golfers – led by former Big Name superstars Greg Norman and Phil Mickelson – decided to turn the game that made them fabulously rich into the unsportsmanlike game of SleazeBall.
They say they want to set up an independent series of global tournaments, called LIV Golf, to compete with the PGA, the Professional Golfers Association. Alright – at its best, professional sport should be honest, high-quality competition. But there is the catch: the LIV series is not honest, not a sporting competition and not even golf. It’s all about money, more specifically ruthless greed.
Indeed, LIV Golf is a scam fully funded by the brutal petroroyalty family who ruthlessly rule Saudi Arabia. The family’s grotesque abuse of the kingdom’s own citizens has turned the oil-rich regime into a global pariah. Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince who is the mastermind of this multimillion-dollar golf scheme, is the same man who ordered the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. But killing Khashoggi wasn’t enough. The prince had it cut into small pieces, packed in suitcases and thrown away. Now his golf bet is a blatant case of “sportswashing” – he spends obscene sums of his family’s oil loot to buy the marquee names of a few dozen recognizable golfers to concoct a sports spectacle, hoping to hijack attention to the depravity of his government. Hitler tried this by holding the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany, but it didn’t work.
Likewise, the Saudi Golf Association is not going to wash away the indelible ugliness of the regime. But – Fore! – he will boomerang the money-hungry golfers who will sell him their once-good names. If you sell your personal integrity in a vain attempt to give a patina of integrity to notorious scoundrels, what have you gained?
Depending on your selling price, bitch about the ethically stunted pro golfers who peddled both their honor and honesty to murderous, wealthy monarchs. Golf elites have madly rushed to grab the cash thrown at their feet by the royal realm in a crude PR ploy designed to improve its public image by making them appear as generous benefactors bringing the sport to the masses. Of course, a golf tournament needs golfers, but the Saudis had none, so they just bought a lot. Right away, former stars Phil Mickelson and Greg Norman gave up their integrity to join, taking at least $200 million apiece. Then Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau took $150 million each from the Saudi team, and Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia and others quickly rushed to get theirs.
Worse than the golfers’ unsightly money, however, is their unbearable dishonesty, trying to launder their grasp of what is literally blood money. Mickelson feigned moral outrage against the Kingdom’s rulers, cautiously calling them “disreputable individuals” and devoutly proclaiming that he did not condone “human rights abuses”. But he certainly tolerated (and cashed) the checks sent to him by offenders.
But Greg Norman, the former pro who led the recruitment of golf talent for the Saudis, offered the most pathetic moral excuse to sell himself to such a villainous kingdom. When asked how he could tie up arms with such a barbaric potentate that he had a critic of the regime murdered and cut to pieces, Norman replied: “Listen, we’ve all made mistakes.”
There’s one word that describes what these multi-millionaire golfers do: “Disgusting.” The good news is that most pros, including big-name stars like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, have stocks they refuse to trade for dollars.