Greg Norman has been criticised by Amnesty International after appearing to describe the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a “mistake”.
The charity blasted the Australian legend after he said “we all make mistakes” when he was pressed on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
Norman is fronting LIV Golf Investments, which is behind a rebel golf league and is financed by the Saudi government’s public investment fund.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the heir to the state’s throne, is believed by US authorities to have given the green light to the killing of Khashoggi in 2018, a claim he denies.
Amnesty claims the country is using the LIV Golf Invitational Series to “clean its blood-soaked image”.
"The regime's human rights record is an abomination - from its murder of Khashoggi to recent mass executions and the situation for LGBTI+ people, which continues to be dire," it added.
"Greg Norman's remarks that the Saudi government's brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi and its attempted cover-up were a 'mistake' are wrong and seriously misguided.
"Far from trying to 'move on', the Saudi authorities have attempted to sweep their crimes under the carpet, avoiding justice and accountability at every turn.
"Everyone involved in any of the sports events held there, or that are sponsored by Saudi Arabia, must be aware of what is going on in the Kingdom and speak out about the government's brazen abuses."
The Saudi government earlier this year claimed to have executed 81 people in a single day, while being LGBT carries a sentence of flogging or prison.
When asked about the country’s record at a press conference this week, Norman said: "Everybody has owned up to it, right? It has been spoken about, from what I've read, going on what you guys reported. Take ownership, no matter what it is.
"Look, we've all made mistakes and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward."
The LIV Series is a breakaway circuit consisting of eight events, the first of which begins next month at Centurion Club near London.
It has attempted to lure big-name stars with the promise of a $25 million prize pot for each event. However, both the PGA and DP World tours have refused players’ requests for permission.
Both tours have threatened to ban any player who appears in the rebel league.