LIV Golf’s newest golfers are hearing criticism on all sides after joining its Invitational Series. Northern Irish golfer Graeme McDowell said that he continues to receive death threats and messages telling him to “go die” after he joined the Saudi-financed tour.

The newest tour is backed by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF), a fund run by chairman Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Many golfers have been criticized for joining the tour, being portrayed as money-grabbing. McDowell had previously been asked about the idea of accepting money from the controversial Saudi Arabian regime, to which he replied that it was “incredibly polarizing.”

Bin Salman has been isolated due to his alleged involvement in approving the operation that led to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

When asked about the incident, McDowell attempted to separate the golf from the regime. “I think we all agree up here, take the Khashoggi situation; we all agree that’s reprehensible. Nobody is going to argue that fact,” he said. “But we are golfers. Speaking personally, I really feel like golf is a force of good in the world. I just try to be a great role model to kids. I know what the game of golf has taught me. I love using the game of golf as something to kind of help grow around the world. That’s pretty much what we’ve been for the last 20 years, being role models for kids and try to use this game, like I say, as a force of good really.”

LIV Golf faced heavy protest prior to their first U.S. event in Portland last week from 9/11 survivors and victims’ families.

“We are not politicians. I know you guys hate that expression, but we are really not, unfortunately. We are professional golfers. If Saudi Arabia wanted to use the game of golf as a way for them to get to where they want to be and they have the resources to accelerate that experience, I think we are proud to help them on that journey using the game of golf and the abilities that we have to help grow the sport and take them to where they want to be,” McDowell said.

McDowell won the US Open in 2010.

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