The retired champion Greg Norman, who is the chief executive of LIV Golf Investments, on Wednesday made even more startling comments about Saudi Arabia’s murder of the journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, during an interview at the site of the event north of London.
The former world No 1 is the chief executive and commissioner of the LIV Golf series, the controversial Saudi-backed golf league due to start at the Centurion Club near London next month.
The two-time major champion was asked how he felt working with the Saudi regime considering their human rights issues and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Turkey back in 2018.
Greg Norman said “we’ve all made mistakes” when asked about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Facing questions over whether the series was akin to “sportswashing”, the 67-year-old Australian said of Khashoggi’s murder: “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.”
A report last year found Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman likely approved an operation to “capture or kill” Washington Post journalist Khashoggi back in 2018, an accusation that Bin Salman denies.
Bin Salman is the chairman of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), the company which is backing the golf “super league” and led the consortium that purchased Newcastle United.
Norman, who in an interview with Sky Sports this week said “I do not answer to Saudi Arabia”, added that he would have no issue if a player chose to speak out against the Saudi regime.
“Every player is entitled to their opinion and their voice,” he said. “This whole thing about Saudi Arabia and Khashoggi and human rights, talk about it, but also talk about the good the country is doing to change its culture.
“There are not many countries that can stand up and be proud of that. They can’t be proud of their past – there are a lot of countries in this world that have a cross to bear too – but they are looking after the younger generation.”
For years, the Saudi government has tried to lure marquee professional golfers to whitewash its abuse and mistreatment of critics, political prisoners, religious and sexual minorities, and women. But for years, the Saudi government has failed in its quest to sign a global name to act as frontman for its international golfing tournaments.