LIV Golf heads to Oregon where local officials aren’t happy


Saudi-backed LIV Golf is welcoming a chilly reception in Oregon, the first stop in the United States.

This week, paying huge signature fees to players such as Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, the series will land on the small North Plains Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, surrounded by rolling hills west of Portland.

However, the mayor of North Plains and officials in the surrounding cities have expressed concern about the club’s owner, Escalante Golf. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has spoken against the tournament, and some members of the Pleasure Club are also uncomfortable with the situation.

Opponents have pointed to Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses, including the killing of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.But in Oregon, there is also anger In 2016, 15-year-old Fallon Smart hit and run.

Saudi student Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah was tried for one murder when he disappeared after removing the tracking device. US officials believe that the Saudi government helped arrange forged passports and provided a private jet to return to Saudi Arabia. The case was taken up in “60 Minutes”.

“It’s wrong to be silent when Saudi Arabia tries to cleanse their blood-stained hands in the fight for justice for Oregon people — Fallon Smart is in the immediate vicinity of our home in Southeast Portland. He was killed, and the death carried out was taken out of the country by Saudi Arabia before he went to trial, based on all evidence, “Weiden said in an interview with AP.

There is also concern that this event could bring protests to North Plains, a town of only 3,400 people. Event tickets prohibit fans from displaying political signs.

“We oppose this event because it is sponsored by a repressive government where human rights abuses are documented. Saudi Arabian-backed organizations conspire to allow them to play in our backyard. By doing so, we refuse to support these abuses, “said a letter signed by Northplanes Mayor Terilenahan and 10 other mayors from neighboring cities.

Weiden has accused the Saudi Arabian government of sportswashing.

“It’s just a page from the dictator’s playbook that covers fraud by misusing athletics in the hope of normalizing their abuse,” he said.

The event also put members of Pumpkin Ridge in difficult places. Some have decided to leave the club in the tournament, but it’s unclear how many have left.

“Many members are now stuck between rocks and difficult places, with no political agreement at all,” said Beaverton member Kevin Palmer. And if I leave, I can’t get the money back. “

Greg Norman is the CEO of LIV Golf Investments and the face of the circuit aiming to rival the PGA Tour. Portland’s 48-man field has 12 teams competing for $ 20 million in individual play and $ 5 million in team play. The team will be announced on Tuesday after the draft.

Johnson, who has been the number one player in the world for the longest time since Tiger Woods, and six-time major champion Mickelson were one of the first big names to participate. Since then, Portland’s fields have been joined by Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed. These are all major champions, but they are not among the top 20 players in the current world rankings.

The PGA TOUR has suspended all members who attended the first LIV event because there were no competing event releases. People in Portland will also be stopped when they tee up it.

Tours typically award such releases three times a year only for international tournaments. Members are not allowed to participate in tournaments held in North America.

The Portland event will take place the same week as John Deere Classic in Illinois.

“The PGA Tour, an American institution, can’t compete with foreign monarchies, which are spending billions of dollars to buy golf games,” Jay Monahan said last week. “We welcome good and healthy competition. The LIV Saudi Golf League is not. This is an unreasonable threat and has nothing to do with the rate of return on investment or the true growth of the game.”

The LIV Tour will consist of eight events this year and five in the United States. After stopping in Portland, the tour will take you to Bedminster’s Trump National Golf Club.

Texas-based Escalante Golf, the owner of Pumpkin Ridge and another course in the LIV series, did not respond to requests for comment.

In a letter to the company, the mayor said, “We believe that we have a moral obligation to confront this event and speak out in order to protect those who serve. At this event, we Working together, we express concern about the unwelcome potential risks, visitors, and harm that this event may pose to our community. “


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