Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman, and the LIV Tour – which I have no connection to – have been turned into a political hot potato by some hypocritical and fanatic analysts, analysts, and critics.
Brandel Chamblee, of the NBC-owned golf channel, was one of the loudest and most hypocritical. Of Mickelson and Norman, Chamblee recently tweeted their removal from the Golf Hall of Fame.
The former golfer said, “As far as I know, an athlete has never been expelled from his Hall of Fame but Norman and Mickelson should be removed from the Hall of Fame. They have offended the game and are threatening to destroy the game from which they both benefited the most.”
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Just last February, as the Winter Olympics – covered by golf channel owner NBC Sports – were on the decline in China, Chamblee launched an early attack against Mickelson – who he clearly doesn’t like on a personal level – by tweeting on the golf channel’s website. :
“It was not the obnoxious greed of the PGA Tour that opened the door, in the words of Mickelson, to a potential Saudi-backed rival league. It was this endless stream of human atrocities, such as the slaughter and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, for which the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which is sponsoring the event, has been accused of Horrors like this are hard to hide and impossible to ignore, forcing the Saudis to engage in a calculated deception known as sports washing…”
Shamble’s example included the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Turkey, a crime that should never be forgotten. Shamble was able to weave this offense into the body of his rhetoric against Mickelson, because Mickelson – along with a host of other major golf stars – played in the Saudi International event in Saudi Arabia.
Shamble is free to clarify this point. What I find incredibly disingenuous and hypocritical is his audacity to cite “an endless stream of human atrocities” and “horrors like those that are hard to hide” while ignoring perhaps the greatest human rights abuse of our time: China’s imprisonment, torture, and the killing of thousands of Uyghurs and other Muslims in forced labor camps in Xinjiang.
Sure, Khashoggi’s murder was horrific, but if the despicable murder of a human being is “impossible to ignore,” what would Chamble, Eamonn Lynch and the other critics who attacked 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 at the Golf Canal.
Could NBC’s interest in the PGA Tour be driving the criticism?
So…Mickelson, Norman, and LIV Bad Golf. Imprisonment, torture and murder in China…ignored. But, to paraphrase Chambley, wouldn’t that be called “profit, self-interest, or math laundering?”
Will Chambly, Lynch and others next owe each of the big tech companies. US company PGA sponsor; PGA affiliate event in China; Or other sports leagues currently dealing with China?
Professional golf has reached a turning point. It could be much better or worse.
Personal grudges and party politics should play no role in the game’s future well-being.
No one should turn a blind eye to human rights abuses – anywhere. Just as no one should choose some to settle scores.
The PGA Tour shouldn’t be penalized with Brooks Koepka, players’ defectors
As more and more high-profile PGA players, such as Jupiter’s Brooks Koepka, choose to sign with LIV Golf, PGA should not penalize them. For doing so, they are ultimately punishing golf enthusiasts who want to see the best players in the world.
Additionally, as Patrick Cantlay and Harris English have just hinted, the PGA Tour should seriously consider better payments to its members on each of its tours. On Wednesday, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, speaking at the LIV Tour, boosted prize money for eight elite events.
Right now, the PGA Tour is awash with money. But, if the organization continues to make quick reactionary decisions such as preventing players from “protecting” its tour, it may soon find itself with fewer star players, much less money and an uncertain future.
A PGA Tour of Golf should include LIV Golf and a handful of tournaments while engaging in serious discussions, perhaps even looking at the guaranteed salaries of its members.
While this is happening, hard-core critics and reproaches of “we are better than you” may wish to turn their cloudy visions toward China and then the Pope around these thousands of imprisoned, tormented, and missing souls.
Douglas McKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official and author of 56 – Lessons of Freedom from Those Who Risked It All to Sign the Declaration of Independence.