LIV golfers: Bedminster, N.J. – The traveling circus that is Saudi LIV Golf has hit the big top, owned by ex-guy, Donald Trump. He has to show up on Thursday to play in the Pro-Am, then he’ll lend his world-renowned reputation for credibility, honesty, class, and dignity to try to do anything, exhibition-style, over three days without cuts. Low energy, mostly nameless golf.
LIV Golf and Trump, paired together, made a match, well, somewhere. What could go wrong?
Let’s ask 45-year-old Paul Casey, a five-time European Ryder Cup veteran who came to Wednesday’s press conference with a solid reputation as a flashy guy who never got a question he liked. They do not and the Saudi crown prince went to be Muhammad. Bin Salman’s new favorite sports washer.
When LIV golfers meet the press, they should know by now what’s going on: questions about taking millions from the Saudi government’s public investment fund for new jobs on the PGA Tour, which is controlled by MBS, who approved the 2018 assassination. Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s demotion, according to human rights organizations and US intelligence agencies.
He’s also been asked about the fact that Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, which is all the more relevant this week since Ground Zero is only an hour’s drive from the Trump National Golf Club. , and 9/11 families have been granted asylum in Saudi Arabia. Constantly reminding us, rightly so, of the connection.
So far, the Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnsons of the world have failed miserably to adequately answer any of these questions and have instead retreated to the idea of growing the game of golf and giving the world golfers or significant other. How are people working to make a better place?
In this regard, I wondered what Cassie had in mind about using the platform she has been given on the Saudi payroll to influence MBS and her colleagues by speaking out in support of Saudi women and the LGBTQ community. Might have an idea or two.
“As you know, homosexuals are punishable by death, and obviously women’s rights are behind men’s rights. … Are you going to discuss these issues now?
Casey responded this way. He said he golfed with a 17-year-old girl in a pro-am at the Saudi Invitational earlier this year, and “played with another woman who is a human rights lawyer.” Casey said the 17-year-old told her things have “changed drastically for her and her family” since she started playing golf in the past two years.
Ah, the magic of golf. Hit a few golf balls and centuries of oppression evaporate for at least one young woman. MBS himself could not have said it better.
And what about LGBTQ rights?
“It’s not a subject I know enough to talk about,” Casey said.
Veteran Jason Kokirk, 37, sat next to Casey. “Yes, I agree with Paul. I don’t know enough about the subject to discuss it, but I also got to play with this young girl – was she 15 or 17?”
It was a literal, word-of-mouth conversation between two professional golfers, world travelers who have been alive for a total of 82 years, yet they have absolutely no idea that women and LGBTQ people are welcome in Saudi Arabia. How to say anything remotely meaningful about the plight of the people.
After the press conference, Casey was surrounded by a gaggle of reporters who had more questions for him. One came from NorthJersey.com, which wondered about 9/11 families’ criticism of LIV Golf.
“My heart goes out to all those who were affected and suffered loss by 9/11,” Casey said. “I have no words to describe the pain and sadness behind this, I have to go do a photo shoot.”
Ah, priorities. How convenient that Casey is now fully connected with MBS. His once good name and reputation went with him when he left mid-sentence a sad thought about the families of 9/11 and went to get his picture taken.