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Greg Norman has sparked worldwide condemnation after shocking remarks about the high-profile murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia.
Norman is the CEO of LIV Investments and has started a Saudi-funded breakaway league attempting to poach the world's top golfers from the PGA Tour.
The Aussie legend's close ties with Saudi Arabia have come under scrutiny considering the country's human rights record.
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Norman is attempting to frame LIV Golf as a sport-related, non-political venture.
But given the new series is funded by the Saudi government's Public Investment Fund, critics are questioning how Norman could ally with a regime which has committed multiple ongoing human rights violations.
One of the Saudi regime's most notable crimes is the 2018 killing of Washington Post journalist Khashoggi, a US resident who was kidnapped and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Human rights organisations and intelligence services have come to the conclusion that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, chairman of the PIF, signed off on the killing.
Salman has denied that accusation but previously said he takes "full responsibility" as the leader of the nation.
And apparently that's enough for Norman to align himself with the Saudis.
When asked about Khashoggi's murder on Wednesday, 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.”
Greg Norman slammed over response
Needless to say, Norman's response has caused shock and outrage around the world.
British sports writer Martyn Ziegler called it an “astonishing comment” while broadcaster Georgie Bingham tweeted: “Oh my goodness. Greg Norman is just effing up his life in a HUGE way right now. And all for $$$$$.”
Golf writer Eamon Lynch wrote: “Just when you thought Greg Norman’s shilling for murderers couldn’t get any more contemptible.”
Journalist Paul Hodowanic sarcastically said: “Exactly. Who hasn’t made the mistake of murder?”
Mike Freeman of USA Today labelled Norman’s comments “absolute despicable trash”, while Brian Wacker of the New York Post wrote: “An amazing quote here ... and by amazing I mean Greg Norman is becoming more reprehensible by the day.”
Oh my goodness. Greg Norman is just effing up his life in a HUGE way right now. And all for $$$$$ https://t.co/DN99eVGKao
— Georgie Bingham 🇺🇦 (@georgiebingham) May 11, 2022
Exactly. Who hasn’t made the mistake of murder? https://t.co/gpCtBirmTM
— Paul Hodowanic (@PaulHodowanic) May 11, 2022
An amazing quote here...and by amazing I mean Greg Norman is becoming more reprehensible by the day. https://t.co/a9E8iSb9BX
— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) May 11, 2022
Just an horrific comment relating to an intentional murder. Greg Norman only interested in cash.
— John Thompson (@JohnThompsonnnn) May 12, 2022
Last month, Saudi Arabia put 81 people to death in a mass execution that also drew international criticism.
When asked further about Saudi Arabia's human right record, Norman said: “I got a lot of messages but quite honestly I look forward.
“I don’t look back. I don’t look into the politics of things. I’m not going to get into the quagmire of whatever else happens in someone else’s world. I heard about it and just kept moving on.
“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’s not many countries that can stand up and be proud of that.
"They can’t be proud of their past - there’s a lot of countries in this world that have a cross to bear too - but they are looking after the younger generation.”
On Tuesday, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced he had denied requests from players seeking a release to play in the first LIV event.
Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood are among the players believed to have sought a release from the PGA.
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