Ahead of the second edition of the LIV Golf Series in Portland, players have again faced questions about investing in Saudi Arabia and their response to widespread criticism that participants are complicit in the “sportswashing” of human rights atrocities. man within the Kingdom.
It was a similar situation prior to the inaugural event at the Centurion Club and players continued to dismiss the line of questions with a variety of answers surrounding the growth of the game and their sole responsibility to provide an entertainment product in the form of golf.
Bryson DeChambeau, who will be making his series debut and captain of the Crushers team, said, “Golf is a force for good and I think over time I hope people will see the good that ‘they [Saudi Arabia] are doing and what they’re trying to accomplish rather than looking at the bad that happened before.”
The former US Open champion added: “I personally think that I respect everyone’s opinion and decisions, just as I hope they would on our side as well. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and from my point of view, we are golfers. We’ve been providing entertainment on a global scale and we will continue to do so over time.”
Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood responded similarly. The Spaniard insisted: “Golf brings good things everywhere. The sport in general. Us as golfers and role models and everything, that’s what we try to do. We try to bring the best of us everywhere where we’re going and if we can help any country or any place in the world, that’s what we’re going to do, and that’s one of the reasons we’re here.
The former world No. 1, however, wasn’t as descriptive but agreed with his Ryder Cup team-mate: “Pretty much along the lines of what Sergio said, yeah.
Pat Perez, in addition to aiming for a barrage of criticism at the PGA Tour and commissioner Jay Monahan before insisting that joining the series was like “winning the lottery”, was considerably less forthcoming. When asked if he had any concerns about ongoing complaints from politicians, 9/11 survivors and whether golfers should take part in the series, the American simply replied, “No.” When asked to elaborate, he added: “I have no concerns. I understand the topics you are trying to address and these are horrible events, but I am here to play golf. It’ is my business.”
Brooks Koepka came to the defense of his American counterpart: “That’s pretty much what Pat said. Same thing. We’re here to play golf. We’re excited. We’re going to go out there and put on the best show we have. can do and hopefully one of us will be here on Saturday with a win. Our only job is to go and play golf and that’s all we’re trying to do. We’re trying to develop the game, to make all that other stuff. And we’re trying the best we can.
Garcia and Westwood were on the court in the series premiere, while DeChambeau, Perez and Koepka are part of a rookie group this week in Portland.