Graeme McDowell has again voiced his regret at his comments from the opening LIV Golf event in London – saying he’d been prepped to give answers to questions about sportswashing and Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
McDowell was far from the only golfer to be questioned when the vast wealth of LIV Golf tempted players to cash in and leave the PGA Tour and DP World Tour in droves.
At the first LIV event at Centurion, a few golfers were caught out when questioned on topics such as sportswashing and Saudi Arabia’s human rights, with McDowell answering one such question with the response:
“If Saudi Arabia want to use the game of golf as a way for them to get to where they want to be, I think we’re proud to help them on that journey.”
The Northern Irishman says he was prepped by LIV Golf officials to give his answers, but regretted the way his comments had come across as a defence of the Saudi government when he thought he was merely promoting his new golf tour.
“Going back to Centurion and that first press conference, I was not a paid ambassador for Saudi Arabia human rights,” McDowell told John Huggan’s The Thing About Golf Podcast.
“I was a paid ambassador for a golf tour. You start answering questions that can’t be answered.
“I regret those answers, not that they were necessarily wrong; that was what we had been prepped to say by this golf tour that’s paying me.
“I’m not being paid by the Saudi Arabian human rights organisation, I’m being paid by this new start-up golf tour, which is a financially lucrative opportunity for me at this stage in my career. The end.
“People say ‘well, if he had just said it was about the money’. Of course it was about the money, of course it was. It didn’t need saying. Of course that’s what I was there for, it was a business decision.”
A minefield of disaster questions
McDowell says he was caught off guard almost by the negative reaction to his comments at the LIV press conference, which he admits was a “minefield of disaster questions” that he was just not prepared enough to answer.
“I feel like my skin’s thickened up a lot the last 16 months,” McDowell added. “I didn’t handle it very well the first three or four months. It…