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Amoral putting: The LIV Golf circuit comes to Adelaide

  • 24 November 2022
  LIV Golf chief executive officer Greg Norman, financed by the pockets of the House of Saud via Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, continues the corporate march across the putting greens of the planet.

For Norman, there’s a personal aspect to this golfing enterprise. He has a deep seated grievance for the establishment PGA Tour, which he sought to challenge in the 1990s. In that regard, Martin McKenzie-Murray of The Saturday Paper sees him as a Don Quixote character, tilting at windmills with insatiable optimism. But where that comparison falls short is in the payment stakes: Cervantes’ misguided protagonist never received $2 billion from Riyadh’s Public Investment Fund.

Peter Malinauskas, the South Australian Premier, has joined the cheering for the LIV Golf experiment. Rather troublingly, he shows little to no interest in the origins of the tournament and its funding base. His only acknowledgment has been in the form of dismissal. With LIV Golf Adelaide, scheduled for April 21-23 next year, the premier can only focus on the economic rationale and defend Norman against ‘the establishment monopolist forces’.

The press release from the premier’s office emphasised the timing of the event: it would take place over school holidays, enabling the state to take advantage of international and interstate visitors. They would ‘pack out restaurants, bars, hotels, shops and other businesses, many of which suffered through the pandemic.’

Money from the Major Events Fund up to $40 million is also complementing the Saudi Kingdom’s funding. In doing so, Malinauskas has linked the treasury of his government with a regime that continues to attack freedom of expression, association and assembly, target dissidents within and beyond its borders, persecute women human rights defenders, use capital punishment all too willingly and subject migrant workers to abuse.

In October 2018, Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi Consulate on the orders of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the man who is effectively Norman’s employer. The link between the Crown Prince and the death of Khashoggi was confirmed by Turkish intelligence and the US Central Intelligence Agency. A declassified US intelligence report submitted to Congress by the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines found ‘that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.’ 

'The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been particularly aggressive in pursuing what has come to be known as "sportswashing".'

Riyadh is also prosecuting a war