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Saudi Invitational Golf Tournament Deletes Tweet With Accidental Beheading Reference

Saudi Invitational Golf Tournament Deletes Tweet With Accidental Beheading Reference
Colman Stanley
By Colman Stanley
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In a scarcely believable piece of irony, the most controversial tournament in golf managed to tweet a fairly shocking accidental reference to capital punishment.

The Saudi International, which has garnered much criticism over the past year, today posted a now-deleted tweet featuring the USA’s Bryson DeChambeau and the question: ‘will the 'trophy emoji' be heading to the States?’.

The gaffe overshadowed the launch of the first UK tournament on the Asian Tour's 'International Series' at the Centurion Club in Hertfordshire from June 9th-12th.

Capital punishment is legal in Saudi Arabia: at least 40 people were executed in Saudi Arabia in the first half of last year, according to Amnesty International.  Saudi Arabia is often associated with this particular form of execution along with its abysmal human rights record, which has been the cause of the initial controversy over the Saudi International.


Needless to say, the Saudi International page swiftly deleted the tweet as soon as Twitter users started to share the unfortunate mistake.


The tournament, which has been in existence since 2019, has moved to the Asian Tour for this year’s event, having been part of the European Tour in its first three years.

Its current sponsor is the Public Investment Fund which is the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, and also the majority stakeholder in Newcastle United. Essentially the Saudi International is sponsored by the Saudi government.


The field boasts a host of the biggest stars in golf including two-time winner Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Cameron Smith, Patrick Reed, and Xander Schauffle.

The Irish involved are Shane Lowry, Graeme McDowell, and Cormac Sharvin. Rory McIlroy declined the chance to compete in the tournament.

Explaining his reasons to play the tournament, Lowry said:


Look, obviously there's no hiding from the people writing about this tournament or what they're saying about us going to play, but at the end of the day for me I'm not a politician, I'm a professional golfer.

I earn a living for myself and my family and try and take care of those, and this is just a part of that.

I'm happy to go there. I'm happy to earn my living going there and going and playing good golf and hopefully win a tournament

A lot of the discourse is centred around the controversial topic of sports washing. Opposition to sportswashing has gathered steam in recent years due to the Qatar World Cup and the more recent take over of Newcastle United.

The question is how much of a responsibility do athletes have in countering sports washing by refusing to compete for certain clubs or in certain tournaments?

The Saudi Invitational tees off Thursday.


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