Graeme McDowell says he has received death threats asking him to ‘go die’ after taking part in the LIV Golf tour

Golfers have been heavily criticized for taking part in the breakaway tour, which is backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) – a sovereign wealth fund led by Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince – for “money-grabbing” the nature of the emigration from the traditional tours of the Gulf and to receive money from a country with a dismal human rights status.

Bin Salman was named in a U.S. intelligence report as responsible for approving the operation that led to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, although he has denied involvement. Human rights groups have also criticized the country for carrying out mass executions and for its treatment of homosexuals.

Prior to the inaugural event of the LIV Golf Series in June, when asked about receiving money from the Saudi regime, McDowell said the trip was “incredibly polarizing.”

“I think we all agree up here, take the Khashoggi situation; we all agree that it is reprehensible. No one will argue for that fact,” he told a news conference.

“But we are golfers. Personally, I really feel that golf is a good force in the world. I’m just trying to be a great role model for kids. I know what the game of golf has taught me. I love using golf as something. , which in a way helps to grow around the world.It’s pretty much what we’ve been up to for the last 20 years, being role models for kids and trying to use this game, as I say, as a force of it good really.

“We are not politicians. I know you hate that expression, but we really are not, unfortunately. We are professional golfers. If Saudi Arabia wanted to use the game of golf as a way for them to get where they want to go. be and they have the resources to speed up the experience I think we are proud to help them on that journey by using the game of golf and the skills we have to help develop the sport and bring them to where they are wants to be.”

Since the first event in London, as more and more players choose to attend for a major payday, the control has only grown.

Before its second event – and its first on American soil – outside Portland, Oregon, last week, players and organizers faced protests from families of 9/11 survivors and victims who criticized golfers for working with Saudi Arabia. who they say were complicit in the 2001 terrorist attacks.
McDowell starts on the 14th hole during day three of LIV Golf's inaugural event at Centurion Club.

And for 2010 US Open winner McDowell, that attention and criticism has become a huge burden.

Speaking to the BBC ahead of JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor in Ireland, McDowell said he now does not “wake up and feel proud of myself every day.”

“I can’t turn on my Instagram or Twitter account without someone saying I’m going to die,” the 42-year-old said Monday. “I just wish I hadn’t said anything. I wish I had sat there shaking my head and saying, ‘No comment,’ but that’s not who I am.

“It’s really hard because I’m asked questions that have no real answers. I’re constantly being attacked for my moral integrity when all I’m trying to do is play golf.

“I’m trying to make a business decision for myself and my family. I’ve paid my dues in this game over the last 20 years, I’ve been trying to carry myself the right way.

“The flimsy connections to what the Saudi regime has done … the terrible things they have done – (those who have criticized LIFE Golf) are trying to connect this with golf and to play professional golf.

McDowell kicks off on the 17th hole during day one of the LIV Golf Series event at the Centurion Club on June 9th.

“I have played golf all over the world, in countries whose human rights records could probably also be torn apart.

“I’ve never questioned being in China, the Middle East, all over the world, and what I do is I play professional golf. I play golf for money. I’ve been chasing that money all over the world my whole career. Do I research morality for every dollar I’ve ever earned? No, I do not. “

The team-based LIV series, fronted by former world No. 1 Greg Norman, is backed by PIF and has pledged $ 250 million in total prize money. Tournaments are held over 54 holes instead of the 72 holes of the PGA Tour, and there are no players cut during tournament play.

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