9/11 survivors group blasts LIV Golf participants

Phil Mickelson Dustin Johnson

A 9/11 survivors group has blasted golfers competing in the LIV Golf Invitational Series

The group, 911families.org, has issued a statement accusing participants in the new Saudi-fronted golf tour of assisting the pariah state in sportswashing.

The LIV Golf Series staged its inaugural event at Centurion Club near London this week, with Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson amongst those in the field for the $25million event won by South African Charl Schwartzel.

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In the last 48 hours, American trio Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez have also committed to play on it in open defiance of PGA Tour instructions.

LIV Golf is being controversially bankrolled by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. PIF has previously invested in Disney, Facebook, Uber, BP and Bank of America, amongst others.

However, its activities have proven controversial. Many view them as nothing more than attempts by Saudi Arabia to legitimise a regime that has been internationally condemned for its record on human rights.

With 15 of the hijackers involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks having been Saudi nationals, the defection of some top American golfers from the largely US-based PGA Tour to LIV has been felt acutely in the United States, prompting the 911families.org to release a statement.

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It reads: “As you may know, Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudis.

“It was the Saudis who cultivated and spread the evil, hate-filled Islamist ideology that inspired the violent jihadists to carry out the deadly 9/11 attacks. And, most egregiously, it is the Kingdom that has spent 20 years in denial: lying about their activities, and cowardly dodging the responsibility they bear.

“Yet these are your partners, and much to our disappointment, you appear pleased to be in business with them."

The statement added: “Given Saudi Arabia’s role in the death of our loved ones and those injured on 9/11 - your fellow Americans - we are angered that you are so willing to help the Saudis cover up this history in their request for ‘respectability.’

“When you partner with the Saudis, you become complicit with their whitewash, and help give them the reputational cover they so desperately crave - and are willing to pay handsomely to manufacture."

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