Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman and the LIV Tour, to which I have no connection, have been turned into political hot potatoes by some self-righteous, hypocritical pundits and analysts.
Brandel Chamblee of the NBC-owned Golf Channel has been one of the loudest and most hypocritical. Of Mickelson and Norman, Chamblee recently tweeted for them to be removed from the Golf Hall of Fame.
Said the former golf official: “As far as I know, it has never happened that an athlete has been kicked out of their Hall of Fame, but both Norman and Mickelson should be kicked out of the Hall of Fame. They have disgraced the game and threaten to destroy the game from which both have benefited enormously.”
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Last February, as the Winter Olympics, covered by NBC Sports, the owner of the Golf Channel, were drawing to a close in China, Chamblee launched an early barrage against Mickelson, whom he clearly dislikes on a personal level, by tweeting about Golf. channel site:
“It was not the PGA Tour’s odious greed that opened the door, to use Mickelson’s phrase, to a potential rival league backed by Saudi Arabia. It was the unending stream of human atrocities, such as the killing and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in which the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, which sponsors this week’s Saudi Arabian international event, has been accused of complicity. Horrors like that are hard to hide and impossible to ignore, forcing the Saudis to engage in the calculated deception commonly known as sports laundering…”
Chamblee’s example involved the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Turkey, a crime that must never be forgotten. Chamblee managed to weave that crime into the body of his tirade against Mickelson, because Mickelson, along with a host of other great golf stars, played in the Saudi Arabian International event in Saudi Arabia.
Chamblee is free to make this point. What strikes me as unbelievably false and hypocritical is his audacity to cite an “endless stream of human atrocities” and “horrors like that are hard to hide” while ignoring perhaps the greatest human rights abuse of our time: imprisonment, torture and torture in China. and the murder of thousands of Uyghurs and other Muslims in forced labor camps in Xinjiang province.
To be sure, Khashoggi’s murder was horrific, but if the despicable murder of a human being is “impossible to ignore,” what would Chamblee, Eamon Lynch and the other pundits attacking Mickelson and Norman call the torture and murder of those thousands in China? ?
Oh wait a minute. Let me try to connect the dots. NBC broadcast the Olympics from China and made hundreds of millions of dollars. NBC owns the Golf Channel. Chamblee works for the Golf Channel.
Could NBC’s interest in the PGA Tour be fueling the criticism?
So… Mickelson, Norman and LIV Golf wrong. Imprisonment, torture and murder in China… ignored. But, to paraphrase Chamblee, wouldn’t that be called “profit, self-interest, or sports laundering”?
Will Chamblee, Lynch and the others will next condemn all the big tech companies; US corporation; PGA sponsor; event affiliated with the PGA tour in China; or other sports leagues currently doing business with China?
Professional golf is at a turning point. It can get much better or worse.
Personal grudges and partisan politics should play no role in the future well-being of the game.
No one should turn a blind eye to human rights abuses, anywhere. Just as no one should pick a few to settle scores.
PGA Tour shouldn’t punish Brooks Koepka, players who defect
As more and more prominent PGA players like Jupiter’s Brooks Koepka choose to sign with LIV Golf, the PGA should not punish them. Because by doing so, they are ultimately punishing golf fans who want to see the best players in the world.
Also, as Patrick Cantlay and Harris English just mentioned, the PGA Tour should seriously consider better payouts for its members on each of its tours. On Wednesday, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, addressing the LIV Tour, increased prize money at eight elite events.
At the moment, the PGA Tour is awash in money. But if the organization continues to make knee-jerk, reactionary decisions like banning players to “protect” its tour, it may soon find itself with fewer star players, far less money and an uncertain future.
The PGA Tour should embrace LIV Golf and its handful of tournaments while engaging in serious discussions, possibly even considering guaranteed salaries for its members.
While that is going on, the sanctimonious, nagging experts who say “we are better than you” might want to turn their cloudy tunnel vision on China and then pontificate on those thousands of lives imprisoned, tortured and lost.
Douglas MacKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official and author of the book: “The 56 – Lessons in Freedom From Those Who Risked Everything to Sign the Declaration of Independence.”