Greg Norman, CEO of the LIV professional golf tour, said in a Fox News interview that aired Monday night that he has no explanation for criticisms leveled against the tour—the same tour that is widely viewed as “sportswashing” Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses and links to 9/11.
Speaking from former President Donald Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, which hosted the tour’s second U.S. event over the weekend, Norman was asked by Tucker Carlson why the tour “is so offensive to some American golf fans.”
“What are they mad about?” Carlson asked the Australian former golf pro.
“I don’t know. I really don’t care, quite honestly,” Norman said. “I just love the game of golf so much and I just want to grow the game of golf. We at LIV see that opportunity not just for the men but for the women. We at LIV see it for NCAA and younger generations. We at LIV see it as a pathway to opportunities for these kids to experience a new world out there. LIV is the future of golf.”
LIV has paid hefty sums to recruit PGA players, even reaching out to Tiger Woods with an offer roughly between $700 million and $800 million, Norman said. LIV is largely funded by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—the man the CIA deemed responsible for the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Carlson also asked about Trump’s involvement in the tour.
Trump, who doubted the CIA’s finding, “sees the commercial opportunity of what golf can give him,” Norman said. “Trump Bedminster is no different, right? The membership here is full. It’s a commercial entity for him where he can make some revenue out of it.”
Once Trump left office, the PIF made a $2 billion investment in Affinity, a private equity firm led by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law. (That move is being investigated by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.) The PIF also gave $1 billion to Liberty Strategic Capital, a fund set up by former Trump Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
When asked on the course about his decision to host the tournament against the wishes of 9/11 victims’ families, Trump said, “Nobody’s gotten to the bottom of 9/11, unfortunately”—a comment that doesn’t square with what he’s said in the past.