Home Community LIV GOLF TEES OF AT NATIONAL DORAL AMID CONTROVERSY ABOUT SAUDI TIES

LIV GOLF TEES OF AT NATIONAL DORAL AMID CONTROVERSY ABOUT SAUDI TIES

by Camila Escarceti

A golf tournament got underway in Doral, but not without teeing up controversy about its funding.

The LIV Golf Invitational Miami kicked off at Trump National Doral on Friday. The season finale of the LIV Golf series is a teams-only event that ends Sunday with a $50 million purse, including $4 million for each member of the winning team.

The large prizes have drawn some big names, including Phil Mickelson, but the golf tour doesn’t come without controversy, because it’s funded by the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia.

Critics said Saudi officials supported the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Critics have also questioned the tournament’s ties to the man who U.S. intelligence said was responsible for the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Outside Trump National Doral on Friday, protester Paul McCabe held up a sign that reads, “Trump’s lies & golfers’ greed.”

“They’re trying to wash their crimes against humanity by giving a lot of money to athletes and getting people to come out here and support them,” he said.

McCabe is not alone. The advocacy group 9/11 Justice has been protesting the tournament since it was announced and when the tour played in New Jersey, just miles away from Ground Zero.

Dennis McGinley with 9/11 Justice, whose brother was killed in the 2001 attacks, addressed the matter during a news conference, Thursday.

“Phil Mickelson and other golfers recently stated that golf is a force for good. They’re turning it into a force for greed, pain and sportswashing,” he said.

Members of 9/11 Justice have followed the tour to Doral and are urging the U.S. to hold the Saudi kingdom accountable for what they describe as a direct role in the 9/11 attacks.

“How much money would it take for you to turn your back on your country and on your fellow Americans?” said Juliette Scauso, the daughter of a firefighter killed in 9/11. “If you knew who played a role in the murder of your loved one and nearly 3,000 others in the worst terrorist attack our nation has ever seen, would you not make every effort to obtain justice for them?”

Former President Donald Trump has also faced backlash from the group for hosting the event at Trump National Doral. He reportedly met with 9/11 Justice back in 2016 and promised to declassify documents showing Saudi Arabia’s involvement in 9/11, but that never happened.

The former president played in the tournament’s pro-am on Thursday.

“It was a national crime, and it was only 20 years ago, and people somehow forget too easily,” said McCabe.

Members of 9/11 Justice said they do not want golfers to quit the tournament but to listen and use their platform for good. As of Friday afternoon, they said, none of the golfers taking park in LIV Golf have taken them up on their proposal.

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