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LIV Golf received pushbacks in Oregon prior to its first tournament in the United States

Saudi-backed LIV Golf is having a chilly reception in Oregon, its first destination in the United States. 

This week, the series, which pays huge signature fees to players such as Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, land on the small North Plains Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, surrounded by rolling hills to the west. I will come. Portland. 

However, the mayor of North Plains and officials in the surrounding cities have expressed concern about the club's owner, Escalante Golf. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has spoken against the tournament, and some members of the Pleasure Club are also uncomfortable with the situation. 

Opponents have pointed out Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses, including the murder of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But in Oregon, there is also anger at the death of 15-year-old Fallon Smart in 2016. 

Saudi student Abdullah Man Samir Nura was faced with a one-time murder trial and will be charged when he removes the tracking device and disappears. US officials believe that the Saudi government helped arrange forged passports and provided a private jet to return to Saudi Arabia. The case was taken up in "60 Minutes". 

"When Saudi Arabia tries to cleanse its blood-stained hands, it is wrong for the Oregons to silence in the fight for justice — Fallon Smart in Southeast Portland. He was killed in the immediate vicinity of our house. The person charged with the crime was taken out of the country by Saudi Arabia before going to trial, based on all evidence, "Weiden said in an interview with AP. Stated. 

Ron Wyden
Getty Images

This event could bring protests to North Plains There is also concern that there is a town of only 3,400 people. Event tickets prohibit fans from displaying political signs. 

"We oppose this event because it is sponsored by a repressive government with documented human rights abuses. Saudi Arabian-backed organizations play in our backyard. We refuse to support these abuses by conspiring to allow them, "said a letter signed by Northplanes Mayor Terilenahan and 10 other mayors from neighboring cities. 

Weiden has accused the Saudi Arabian government of sportswashing. 

"It's just a page from a dictator's playbook that covers fraud by abusing athletics in the hope of normalizing their abuse," he says. Dictatorship. 

This event also put members of Pumpkin Ridge in difficult places. Some have decided to leave the club in the tournament, but it's unclear how many have left. 

"Currently, many members are totally politically disagreeable, like being stuck between a rock and a difficult place," said a member of Beaverton. One Kevin Palmer said. "But I also joined last year and dropped it like $ 12,000, and if I leave, I can't get the money back." 

Greg Norman is the LIV CEO of Golf Investments and the face of the circuit aimed at rivaling the PGA Tour. Portland's 48-man field has 12 teams competing for $ 20 million in individual play and $ 5 million in team play. The team will be announced on Tuesday after the draft. 

Greg Norman

Players since Johnson Tiger Woods and 6 majors Champion Mickelson was one of the first big names to join. Since then, Portland's fields have been joined by Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed. These are all major champions, but they are not among the top 20 players in the current world rankings. 

The PGA Tour has suspended all members who attended the first LIV event because there were no competing event releases. People in Portland will also be stopped when they tee up it. 

Tours typically award such releases three times a year only for international tournaments. Members are not allowed to participate in tournaments held in North America. 

The Portland event will take place the same week as John Deere Classic, Illinois. 

"The American institution PGA Tour cannot compete with foreign monarchies spending billions of dollars to buy golf games," said Commissioner Jay. Monahan said last week. "We welcome good and healthy competition. The LIV Saudi Golf League is not. This is an unreasonable threat and has nothing to do with the rate of return on investment or the true growth of the game." 

The LIV Tour consists of eight events this year, five in the United States. After stopping in Portland, the tour will take you to the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ. 

Texas-based Escalante Golf, the owner of Pumpkin Ridge and another course in the LIV series, did not respond to requests for comment. 

"We believe we have a moral obligation to confront and oppose this event in order to protect the people we serve," the mayor wrote to the company. I am writing in. "The jurisdiction of our area may not be able to prevent this event, but we work together to visit an unwelcome potential risk that this event may pose to our community. And express concern about harm. "