Jan 21, 2023 - Sports

LIV Golf CEO: Saudi Arabia learned from “mistakes” with Khashoggi's death

Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf, at a 2010 conference.

Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf, at a 2010 conference. Photo: Francis Specker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman said in an interview Thursday with NewsNation’s Dan Abrams that the Saudi Arabian government has learned from its “mistakes” over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and human rights violations.

Why it matters: The LIV Golf CEO is doubling down on his positive feelings toward Saudi Arabia days after locking down a TV deal for his new golf circuit, which is backed by the country.

What he's saying: “Look, I think everybody learns from their mistakes,” Norman said when asked about previous comments he made that the Saudi government sees Khashoggi's killing as a "mistake."

  • When asked if the Saudis had learned from their mistakes, Norman said that from what he was seeing, he believed that they had.

Norman also told NewsNation that he has been working in Saudi Arabia to develop LIV Golf and to build a golf course "before any of this ‘who-ha-ha’ erupted."

  • "I was there for a reason ’cause they see the value in what golf is a force for good, and it’s proving it out in their country today," Norman said.
  • “Golf diplomacy is something I’ve been extremely passionate about for more than a quarter of a century,” he added.

Context: LIV Golf has been under heavy criticism since it launched in 2022 due to its ties to Saudi Arabia, Axios reports.

  • Critics have often pointed to Saudi Arabia's poor human rights record, as well as the murder of Khashoggi, Axios' Tim Baysinger reports.
  • Saudi Arabia has been accused of sportswashing by funding LIV Golf in an attempt to boost and enhance its global image.

Yes, but: The criticisms have only gone so far.

  • LIV Golf recently announced a television and streaming deal with The CW Network, which will air 14 of the league’s global live events in 2023.

Go deeper ... Everything you need to know about the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series

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