Thursday, June 8, 2023

Saudi Super League heads to Oregon, first US stop

The LIV Golf Circuit, backed by Saudi Arabia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, will have a cold reception in Oregon, its first stop in the United States.

Next week, the Saudi Super League, which is paying exorbitant funds to secure the participation of stars like Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, will arrive at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in the North Plains, west of Portland.

But the mayors of Northern Plains, as well as officials from nearby towns, have written to the club’s owners, Escalante Golf, to express their concern. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has voiced his opposition to the tournament and some members of the luxury club are uncomfortable with the situation.

Opponents of the new golf course have cited human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, emphasizing the killing of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But there’s also anger in Oregon over the 2016 death of Fallon Smart, a 15-year-old girl who ran over and hit-and-run the driver.

Samir Noora, a Saudi student, was facing trial on charges of first-degree murder when a tracking device was removed and he disappeared. US officials believe the Saudi government helped secure the false passport and provided him with a private plane to return to Saudi Arabia. The matter was the subject of a segment of the news program “60 Minutes”.

“When Saudi Arabia tries to wash away bloody hands, it is wrong for the people of Oregon to remain silent in their struggle for justice. Fallon Smart died very close to our home in southeast Portland, and the man charged with the crime was hit and run, and all evidence indicates he was taken out of the country by the Saudis before going to trial. Was moved,” Widen said in a statement. An Associated Press interview.

There are also concerns that the tournament will bring protests to the Northern Plains, a city of 3,400 people. Tickets to the event are accompanied by banners banning political demonstrations.

Greg Norman is the CEO of LIV Golf Investments and the face of a tour to compete with the PGA. 48 golfers from Portland will compete for $20 million in individual prize money and $5 million for teams, which consist of 12 teams. The teams will be announced after the draft on Tuesday.

Escalante Golf, the Texas-based company that owns Pumpkin Ridge and another LIV course, did not respond to a request for comment.

“We believe we have a moral obligation to speak out against this incident to protect the people we work for,” the mayors said in their letter to the company.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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