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Greg Norman and his LIV Golf Invitational Series faced intense questioning during a media day at next month's inaugural venue, the Centurion Club, near London where the Australian was asked about the idea of 'sportswashing' and the controversial murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
"Everybody has owned up to it, right? It has been spoken about, from what I've read, going on what you guys reported. Take ownership, no matter what it is," Norman responded. "Look, we've all made mistakes and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward."
Norman was then asked about 81 Saudi Arabian citizens being executed in a single day in March. “I got a lot of messages, but quite honestly I look forward, I don’t look back," he said. "I don’t look into the politics of things. I know the mission I have as CEO of LIV Golf and that’s how we can grow the game globally. I’m not going to get into the quagmire of whatever happens in someone else’s world. I heard about it and I just kept moving on."
"This whole thing about Saudi Arabia and Khashoggi and human rights, talk about it, but also talk about the good the country is doing to change its culture. There are not many countries that can stand up and be proud of that. They can't be proud of their past - there are a lot of countries in this world that have a cross to bear too - but they are looking after the younger generation."
“I’m not going down this road guys," Norman then said after further questioning. "Let’s just stay focused on the golf. That’s all I’m going to do."
He previously said "I do not answer to Saudi Arabia. I do not answer to MBS [Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman]," in an interview with Sky Sports, where he said Saudi Arabia is "changing their culture within their country."
The LIV Golf Invitational Series gets underway next month at the Centurion Club where a 48-man field will play for a huge purse of $25m. The LIV Golf Invitational Series schedule will see eight tournaments with a season-ending Team Championship taking place at Trump National Doral in Miami, Florida.
As it stands, the field for the first event is still unknown and doubts have been cast over the high profile names rumoured to be playing after both the PGA and DP World Tours declined release requests from its players to feature in the event. Big names linked with the series so far include the likes of Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood, with dozens of PGA and DP World Tour players said to have made release requests.
Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Honma TR20
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi
Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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