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Multiple Oregon Officials Announce Opposition to Portland-Area LIV Golf Event

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 26, 2022

Montana Pritchard/LIV Golf/Getty Images

A group of local officials wrote a letter expressing their concerns to the owner of Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club near Portland, Oregon, as the course prepares to host the second event for the LIV Golf Invitational Series.

"We oppose this event because it is being sponsored by a repressive government whose human rights abuses are documented. We refuse to support these abuses by complicitly allowing the Saudi-backed organization to play in our backyard," the letter said, per the Associated Press' Anne M. Peterson.

Per Peterson, the owner of Pumpkin Ridge, Escalante Golf, didn't respond when asked for a comment.

Many view LIV Golf as a vehicle for the Saudi Arabia government to improve its reputation around the world.

The Saudi government has been accused of human rights violations for a number of years. The U.S. intelligence community has said that Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved the operation leading to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. The FBI has also probed connections between Saudi religious officials in the U.S. and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden also pointed to a case closer to home: the 2016 hit-and-run of Fallon Smart.

Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah, a Saudi national, had been charged with first-degree manslaughter before allegedly fleeing with the aid of the Saudi government.

"It's wrong to be silent when Saudi Arabia tries to cleanse blood-stained hands, in the fight for Oregonians to get justice—Fallon Smart was killed very close to our house in Southeast Portland, and the person charged with the crime, a hit-and-run death, was, based on all the evidence, whisked out of the country by the Saudis before he stood for trial," Wyden said to Peterson.

All of the outside criticism has done little to blunt LIV Golf's momentum.

The series wrapped up its first event on June 11 in London, with Charl Schwartzel crowned the winner. Since then, more stars have signed on for the venture. Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Abraham Ancer and Patrick Reed will be among those making their LIV debut at Pumpkin Ridge.

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