Graeme McDowell has come under serious scrutiny on social media for his comments today at a press conference ahead of the inaugural LIV Golf tournament in London this week.
McDowell was asked a question concerning the morality of joining the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series, considering the appalling human rights record of Saudi Arabia.
In his response McDowell touched upon the murder of journalist Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi, while he stated that golf was 'a force of good', and controversially said he was 'proud' to be helping the Saudis.
The Khashoggi situation, we all agree that was reprehensible. No-one’s going to argue that fact, but we’re golfers.
I really feel golf is a force of good in the world and I love using the game of golf as something to help grow around the world and be role models to kids. We’re not politicians.
If Saudi Arabia want to use the game of golf as a way for them to get to where they want to be, I think we’re proud to help them on that journey, using the game of golf and the abilities we have to help grow the sport.
He was then asked how golf will help certain groups such as women in Saudi Arabia and the people of Yemen, to which he gave a fairly vague answer.
I wish I had the ability to be able to have that conversation with you.
As golfers if we tried to cure geopolitical situations in every country in the world that we played in, we wouldn’t play a lot of golf. That’s a really hard question to answer. We are just here to focus on the golf.
Unsurprisingly he was hit with a lot of backlash on Twitter for these comments on LIV Golf.
Preparing for the Saudi golf series launch, Graeme McDowell talked about golf being a force for good. I asked how the sovereign wealth funded series will help those who have been killed, oppressed and suffered by Saudi actions.https://t.co/lLxnCCQsqm pic.twitter.com/rtDaetqnG1
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) June 7, 2022
McDowell pretty much explains sportswashing in 76 seconds.
Even throws in a "we're not politicians" while explaining how they're happy to be pawns in the politician's game.
It's about the money. Just say it's about the piles and piles of money.pic.twitter.com/iIzKlX8edq
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) June 7, 2022