There’s been a lot of talk this week surrounding the merger between the PGA and LIV Golf, the Saudi Arabia-funded league that managed to steal some of the best golfers in the world, guys like Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, and Phil Mickelson, away from the PGA with big paydays.
LIV Golf has been controversial since the beginning due to Saudi Arabia’s record of human rights violations and financing of terrorist organizations, including their murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia.
The PGA had previously told LIV players that they would not be able to participate in PGA events, before ultimately agreeing to a merger with LIV this week.
Immediately after the merger was announced, 9/11 Families United, a coalition of families of 9/11 victims and survivors, released a scathing statement blasting the PGA for agreeing to do business with Saudi Arabia:
“PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan co-opted the 9/11 community last year in the PGA’s unequivocal agreement that the Saudi LIV project was nothing more than sportswashing of Saudi Arabia’s reputation.
But now the PGA and Monahan appear to have become just more paid Saudi shills, taking billions of dollars to cleanse the Saudi reputation so that Americans and the world will forget how the Kingdom spent their billions of dollars before 9/11 to fund terrorism, spread their vitriolic hatred of Americans, and finance al Qaeda and the murder of our loved ones.
Eight-time PGA Tour winner Bryson DeChambeau was one of the golfers who chose to join LIV back in 2022, signing a massive $125 million contract to defect from the PGA.
And when asked this week about the statement from the 9/11 families, DeChambeau gave an answer that’s earned him some heavy criticism:
“Well I think we’ll never be able to repay the families back for what exactly happened just over 20 years ago. And what happened is definitely horrible.
And I think as time has gone, 20 years has passed and we’re in a place where it’s time to start trying to work together to make things better together as a whole.
I have deep sympathy – I don’t know exactly what they’re feeling, I can’t ever know what they feel, but I have a huge amount of respect for their position and what they believe. Nor do I ever want anything like that to ever occur again.
I think as we move forward from that, we’ve got to look towards the pathway to peace, especially in forgiveness, especially if we’re trying to mend the world and make it a better place.
I think this is what they’re trying to accomplish, LIV is trying to accomplish, the PIF is trying to accomplish, we’re all trying to accomplish a better world for everybody and a way to provide great entertainment for everybody around the world.”
DeChambeau was then asked about playing for a league knowing that it’s financed by the people who are accused of killing a Washington Post journalist, along with a laundry list of other human rights violations in addition to 9/11 – and his answer boiled down to, “Hey, I’m just a golfer.”
“Yeah, I mean, look, it’s unfortunate what has happened, and that’s something I can not necessarily speak on as I’m a golfer. What I can say is that, what they’re trying to do, what they’re trying to work on, is to be better allies, because we are allies with them.
And look, I’m not going to get into the politics of it. I’m not specialized in it. But what I can say is they’re trying to do good for the world and showcase themselves in a light that hasn’t been seen in a while — and nobody’s perfect, but we’re all trying to improve in life.”
Nobody’s perfect? I mean yeah, nobody’s perfect, but carrying out 9/11 and murdering a journalist isn’t exactly the same as going out and having a few too many drinks with the guys.
As you can imagine, Bryson’s answer has been heavily criticized online:
Is he saying the 9/11 families should forgive Saudi Arabia so that he can play golf and make money?