Players reject proposed Golf ‘Super League’
ory McIlroy is among a number of high-profile players who oppose a Saudi Arabia-backed break away golf tour.
Similar to the recent controversy surrounding Football’s European Super League, the new tour is approaching some of the golf’s best players, offering large sums of money for signing onto the project, according to the BBC.
Like the response of football’s governing bodies, The Guardian reports the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) has threatened “suspensions and lifetime bans” for those who sign onto the new tour.
The Guardian reports Northern Irish golfer and chairman of the PGA Player Advisory Council, Rory McIlroy, said he doesn’t “see why anyone would be for it.”
“People can see it for what it is, a money grab, which is fine if what you’re playing golf for is to make as much money as possible,” McIlroy said.
“I’m just speaking about my own beliefs; I’m playing this game to try and cement my place in history and my legacy and to win major championships and to win the biggest tournaments in the world,” he said.
The new tour isn’t just upsetting the golfing world, but it is also causing concern for Amnesty International.
Head of priority campaigns and individuals at risk at Amnesty International UK, Felix Jakens, told The Guardian the tour was part of Saudi Arabia’s “sportswashing efforts.”
“From boxing to football and grand prix, Saudi Arabia is sinking vast sums into sport as part of a strategy to ‘rebrand’ the country,” Jakens said.
“The authorities in Riyadh clearly hope that a glitzy Saudi-backed golf tournament will help shift attention away from their jailing of peaceful activists like Loujain al-Hathloul, the grisly state-sanctioned murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the indiscriminate bombing of civilians in neighbouring Yemen,” he said.
A report released in March by Human Rights organisation, Grant Liberty, found that Saudi Arabia had spent $1.5 billion in ‘sportwashing’.