Search icon


19th Jun 2022

Graeme McDowell hits back at ‘smear campaign’ against Saudi-funded LIV Golf

Patrick McCarry

LIV golfers

‘Watch this space’

Although he said he was ‘not a politician’, Graeme McDowell attempted to speak like a statesman ahead of the first ever LIV Golf event. Safely back on Twitter, he was not afraid to fire some shots.

The 2010 US Open champion is not in Brookline, this week, battling it out for a second major, due to being ranked too low, and may not next tee off until LIV Golf stages its next event.

McDowell, and every other golfer aligned with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf, has fielded tough questions on playing in a series funded by a gulf kingdom with human rights violations and practices that have been slammed by, among others, Amnesty International. Asked about resigning his PGA Tour membership, ahead of a suspension from the tour, the 42-year-old said:

“If Saudi Arabia wants 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.

“We are not politicians,” he added. “I know you guys hate that expression but we are really not, unfortunately. We are professional golfers.”

Asked about journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2018, McDowell stated:

“I think we all agree up here, take the Khashoggi situation… we all agree that was reprehensible. No-one is going to argue that fact. But we are golfers. Speaking personally, I feel that golf is a force of good in the world.”

Graeme McDowell on LIV ‘smear campaign’

McDowell, who finished tied-10th in his first LIV Golf outing, was watching the TV coverage of the US Open third round on Saturday evening.

He tweeted about how little coverage second round leader Joel Dahmen, who done well to grind out a 74, was getting. That led to a bundle of replies, and the Portrush native nibbled back at a few.

One user likened much of the current LIV Golf field to ‘a washed-up group of hungry, old men’. McDowell shot back:

‘Watch this space. It will be a compelling field in no time. There is room [in] the sport for this product.

‘Once the smear campaign dies down and the golf takes over, we will see.’

Asked by one of his followers if the current world number 374 would be a part of these “compelling” fields, McDowell admitted, “Probably not. Gotta play better.”

When another Twitter user interjected after he quoted a No Laying Up tweet on Joel Dahmen, McDowell was quick to reply.

Calling reportage and both fans and journalists asking valid questions about Saudi Arabia and sports-washing a ‘smear campaign’ is rash from Graeme McDowell.

Instead, it perhaps gives an insight to how the golfer, away from the TV cameras and microphones, really feels.

WATCH: Liverpool BOTTLED the title race 🤬 | Who will win the Premier League?