For 9/11 families, LIV Golf is the ‘golf course of death’, says advocacy group

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MIAMI, Oct 27 (Reuters) – As Donald Trump tees off a Pro Am event in the season finale of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series at the former president’s Trump National Golf Club Thursday, the 9/11 Justice Group was meeting a mile away in a small hotel conference room.

As they have done at every stage of the LIV series in the United States, the advocacy group made up of family members and survivors of the attacks on the World Trade Center were in Miami to shine a spotlight on the Saudi government.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers of September 11, 2001 were from Saudi Arabia. However, the kingdom has long denied a role in the Twin Towers attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

The 9/11 community accuses LIV golfers of being little more than well-paid mercenaries in a ‘sportwashing’ scheme by a nation trying to improve its reputation amid criticism over its human rights record ‘man.

The Saudi government has denied accusations of human rights abuses.

“Asked about the Saudi atrocities and involvement in 9/11 and aiding the Saudi sportwash, some golfers said they were just trying to support their families,” said Dennis McGinley, whose older brother Danny was killed in the South Tower collapse.

“Our brother Danny and 2,976 others were just trying to support their families that day.

“LIV Golf for us is Death Golf.”

Controversy has hung over golf venture LIV, which is funded by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, from the start and will follow the series until Sunday’s final round where the tag team champions will be crowned and $50 million paid.

LIV CEO Greg Norman, golfers and officials were all asked about the taking of Saudi money and reissued a brief statement on Thursday in response to Reuters’ request for comment.

“As we have always said, these families have our deepest sympathy. Although some may disagree, we believe golf is a force for good around the world,” the statement read. of LIV.

However, that is not how the members of 9/11 Justice see it.

“Phil Mickelson recently said that golf is a force for good. They make it a sport of greed aimed at washing the sport away,” McGinley said.

The group said it repeatedly requested a meeting with LIV officials and golfers, but received no response.

JUSTICE CAMPAIGN

This week, the 9/11 justice stepped up its campaign by airing a TV ad on CNN protesting the Saudi-funded golf league.

They told Reuters they also plan to be at Trump National for Friday’s first round but expect to be pulled as they will be wearing 9/11 Justice baseball caps.

While LIV Golf has mostly ignored 9/11 Justice, the band says they have their full attention.

In a letter to Sen. Robert Menendez, Democratic chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, seen by Reuters, the group said LIV was receiving management and advisory services “apparently including monitoring and tracking the advocacy of families of 9/11 victims who were protesting the tour because of its ties to the Saudi government.”

Trump, whose resorts have hosted two of the eight LIV tournaments, hailed the Saudis on Thursday as “really good people” with unlimited money who had done a fantastic job.

But Juliette Scauso, the daughter of New York firefighter Dennis Scauso who ran through the crumbling towers to save people and died, wants to ask LIV golfers face-to-face if they really know where the prize money came from. .

“How much money would you need to turn your back on your country,” asked Scauso, a medical student who traveled from Ireland to take part in the protest. “My father died a hero.

“To everyone who was in the LIV tournament and Donald Trump, my dad was not the kind of person you could buy.

“I just want you to know that if you were here that day, my father would have come to save you without hesitation.”

Reporting by Steve Keating in Miami; Editing by Ken Ferris

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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