PORTLAND, OR -- LIV Golf, competing with the PGA for golf fans, opens its U.S. series of tournaments in Oregon this week. But the event at Pumpkin Ridge is drawing a lot of local opposition.
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) says a Saudi man is responsible for killing an Oregon teen in a 2016 hit and run. His government then allegedly helped him get an illegal passport and he fled the country, avoiding prosecution. Wyden says that same Saudi government is backing LIV Golf. Its first U.S. tournament starts Thursday west of Portland. "When U.S. sports institutions partner with these governments, they are, in effect, allies in these cover-ups and selling out integrity for profits," Wyden said at a recent press conference with four area mayors.
Eleven Washington County mayors signed a letter opposing the tournament at Pumpkin Ridge in North Plains. Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty says, "Not all money is welcome in our community. We want our community to know we have no political power to stop this. So, we’re partnering with other levels of government to speak our outrage in public." Because Pumpkin Ridge is a private company, the mayors say they were unable to prevent the tournament from coming here.
Beatty says because Mayors come from different political backgrounds, they don’t often speak with one voice, "This is not a political issue. This is an issue of safety; this is an issue of an unwelcome tournament coming into our own backyard. Because, if something goes wrong, it’s all of our police departments that are going to be expected to respond on a holiday weekend."
They point to Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations and referred to the tournament as “blood money” for their region.