Greg Norman already has an imprint on him as the leader of the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational. He made things much, much worse by commenting on the murdered Washington Post journalist Jamal Kashoghi and provoking the reaction that such comments deserve.
At a press conference on the breakaway golf league on Wednesday, Norman was asked about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who controls the Public Investment Fund, which supports the LIV Golf League. Norman was specifically asked about bin Salman’s alleged role in Hashoghi’s assassination in 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
“From what I heard and what you said, just take ownership of it,” Norman told reporters via ESPN. “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 in the future.”
Calling Kashogi’s brutal murder a “mistake” is not good, especially with Kashogi’s fiancée, Hatice Chengiz.
“It’s so painful when Jamal’s brutal murder is dismissed as a ‘mistake’ and we just have to move on,” Chengiz said. told The Telegraph after hearing Norman’s comments. “Would you say that if it was your loved one? How do we move forward when those who ordered the murder are still unpunished and continue to try to redeem their legitimacy?”
LIV Golf issued a statement on behalf of Norman apologizing:
“The murder of Jamal Kashoghi was condemning. Everyone agrees, including Greg, as he has said many times before. Greg also knows that golf is a force for good around the world and can help pave the way for positive change. That’s why he’s so excited about LIV, and that’s the idea he came up with. “
Unfortunately, Norman’s comments are also in line with others made to defend his LIV Golf Invitational, which is backed by a country accused of numerous human rights crimes. PGA Tour pro Phil Mickelson was the target of a huge shelling earlier this year when an leaked interview revealed that Mickelson was covering Saudi Arabia’s crimes because he wanted to play in a league that distributes a lot of money.
Mickelson is one of a handful of golfers who have been rejected requests from the PGA this week to play in the first major LIV tournament in London next month. LIV Golf also issued a statement about the rejected applications, calling the PGA Tour “anti-golf”.