Following the news that Augusta National will allow LIV golfers to play in the 2023 Masters, a prominent 9/11 survivors group has urged it to reconsider the decision, with the promise to protest if it doesn't.
The group, 9/11 Families United, which represents victims’ families and survivors of the 2001 terrorist attacks, has released a statement reading: “In the aftermath of 9/11, our country agreed we would never forget that horrible day. The only reason the Saudis launched LIV was to try to make the world forget who they are and what they did, including their role in 9/11. Anyone who truly vowed to ‘never forget’ should be appalled by the decision by these golfers to put money ahead of their own country.
“On behalf of 9/11 Families United, we are calling on Augusta National to reconsider their open-door policy to the LIV golfers. If they are welcomed with open arms, we will be at their front door to protest in April.”
The announcement from Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley will have been met with relief from 16 LIV Golf players who are currently eligible for tournament following months of speculation that they may be barred from competing. One of those players, Bryson DeChambeau, reacted to the decision, saying: “As long as you meet the criteria established by the tournament committee, you should be eligible to play. I believe they made the right decision. This Masters will be one of the most exciting Masters in many years”.
However, assuming Augusta National’s decision stands and 9/11 Families United makes good on its promise to protest at next April's event, it will no doubt prove an uncomfortable experience for the club's hierarchy. Ridley’s statement also hinted that qualification criteria may change after the 2023 tournament, and suggested that there could be an announcement during the week it is played.
9/11 Families United has been a vocal opponent of LIV Golf since its inception. In June, it sent a letter to representatives of DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed and Kevin Na expressing families’ anger at their decision to join the Saudi-funded organisation. That drew a response from Mickelson, who expressed his deepest sympathy and empathy for everyone who lost loved ones in the attacks.
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Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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