The widow of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi has insisted that golfers competing on the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Series should be banned from playing in the game’s major championships.
Hatice Cengiz has called for the organisations in charge of the sport’s marquee tournaments to follow the example of the PGA Tour and ostracise the LIV ‘rebels’.
Washington Post correspondent Khasoggi was assassinated at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, allegedly at the behest of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Saudi Arabia is bankrolling the new Greg Norman-fronted LIV Golf Series through its Public Investment Fund.
It staged its first event near London last week and, despite allegations of ‘sportswashing’, it attracted a field that included former world No.1 Dustin Johnson, six-time major champion Phil Mickelson, and European Ryder Cup stars Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter.
Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed have confirmed that they will be joining the contentious new circuit when it stages its second event in Portland later this month.
Speaking to USA Today, Cengiz – who was engaged to Khashoggi at the time of his killing – called for those defecting to LIV to be booted out of the majors.
“If they still carry on and play as if everything is normal, then they should be banned from playing in the world’s major tournaments,” she said. “This will show that there are consequences for supporting murderers, and it will show the murderers that they are not escaping justice.”
Meeting the media ahead of the action getting under way at Centurion Club last week, Phil Mickelson said that he opposes all human rights violations. Cengiz, though, believes his actions speak louder than his words.
“If the players and organisers say they oppose human rights violations, they should act on that,’’ she added. “Otherwise their words are empty, only said to try to make themselves look better and not to change anything in Saudi Arabia.
“They should be insisting on justice for Jamal and the countless persons targeted and abused in the Kingdom. And they should not be participating in sports paid for by the very abusers.”