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The Saudi-backed LIV Golf series faces 9/11 protests to launch its first tournament on US land

(CNN)Saudi Arabia-sponsoredLIV Golf Invitation Seriesis the first tournament in the United States Arrived in Oregon to make soil on Thursday and faced protests from the families of 9/11 survivors and victims who criticized golfers for working with Saudi Arabia, who said they were involved in the 2001 terrorist attack. ..

"Saudi Arabia is trying to sportswash their reputation," Sean Passananti, whose father died in an attack, protests at the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. Said at a press conference. "Instead of granting support and funding to al-Qaeda, they are trying to buy legitimacy through the prestigious game of golf."

Saudi Arabian government conspiracy against the September 11, 2001 attacks Allegations,have long been the subject of controversy in WashingtonOf the 19 al-Qaeda terrorists who hijacked four planes, 15 were Saudi citizens, but the Saudi government attacked. Denied involvement in. The 9/11 Commission, established by Parliament, said in 2004 that "there is no evidence that the Saudi government has funded it as an institution or by senior Saudi officials individually."

Still, the victim's family is seeking further disclosure, and last year the FBI investigated logistical support allegedly provided by Saudi consulate officials and a suspected Saudi intelligence agency in Los Angeles. Published a document detailing the work of. Los Angeles provided at least two hijackers. The

9/11 issue is just one of many criticisms of the LIV Golf Series.

The team-based LIV series, led by former world's number one Greg Norman, is backed by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF). This is a sovereign wealth fund chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia-and promised to award a total prize pool of $ 250 million. The tournament will be held on 54 holes instead of the 72 holes on the PGA Tour and no player will be cut during the tournament play.

Due to the huge amount of money and less demanding demands, many golfers have left the PGA Tour and joined the LIV, which includes six majors. Winner Phil Mickelson,four-time major champion Brooks Koepka, and former world number one Dustin Johnson.

LIV is the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ , Boston, Chicago and Miami.

The 9/11 Family and Survivor Union on June 10 will send aopen letterto several players participating in the LIV Golf Series to reconsider their participation. I called.

Brett Eagleson, whose father died on 9/11, said at a press conference Thursday that he would protest Bedminster next month.

"One of the important messages to these LIV golfers and kingdoms is that we don't go anywhere. In every tournament, more and more stories from the family. We need to deal with it, "Eagleson said. "We will be your face in every tournament on land in the United States."

A spokesperson for LIV Golf said in a statement, "A loved one on September 11, 2001." Has a great deal of respect and sympathy for the families of those who were killed. The attack on the United States by Alcaeda was a national tragedy. I continue to believe that golf is a good power to entertain and teach the value of fair play, competition and excellence through hard work. "

Spokesperson-backed LIV is controversial

Saudi Arabia is one of many countries that have tried to take advantage of the attractiveness of sports to whiten other political concerns. A habit sometimes called "sportswashing".

Golfers face sharp criticism of choosing to accept national money in light of their gruesome human rights records.

Bin Salman was named in a U.S. intelligence report to be responsible for approving the operations that led to the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who he said. Denied the involvement of. Human rights groups also carry outmass death sentencesandhomosexual treatment
Mickelson controversialconsider these issues In a 2021 interview, author Alan Shipnack wrote the book Phil: Lip Loaring (and Unauthorized). The Biography of Golf's Most Colorful Superstars. Did.

Mickelson said he despised Saudi Arabia's human rights records and claimed that the kingdom had killed Khashoggi. Still, Mickelson gave the golfer "leverage" to change the way the PGA Tour runs, so he admitted to considering joining the league anyway.

US politicians face exactly the same criticism of working with Saudi Arabia. President Joe Biden once promised to be the "paria" for Khashoggi's murder, but earlier this month theWhite House said it would meet with Saudi officials, including Binsalman, in July. Despite criticism of
, LIVhosted its first tournament in Londonearlier this month. South Africa's Charl Schwartzel wins first individual stroke play tournament, Mickelsonfinishes in 34th place

Earlier this month, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan played in the Breakaway series. All golfers who play are no longer eligible to participate in the PGA Tour tournament.

LIV issued a statement in early June calling the PGA's move "convincing."

"It's annoying that a tour, an organization dedicated to creating opportunities for golfers to play games, is an entity that prevents golfers from playing," the organization said. "This is certainly not the last word on this topic. We are proud of the full field of players joining us in London and beyond, so the era of free agents has begun."

Monaghan confirmed last week that LIV is a serious threat to the success of the PGA Tour.

"If this is an arms race and the only weapon here is the dollar bill, the PGA Tour cannot compete," he said. "The American institution PGA Tour cannot compete with foreign monarchies spending billions of dollars to buy golf games.

" We are good and healthy. Welcome to the competition. The LIV Saudi Golf League is not. It's an unreasonable threat. Those who aren't interested in the return on investment or the true growth of the game. "