LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman said he believes the Saudi Arabian government has learned from its “mistakes,” in reference to human rights violations including the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“Look, I think everybody learns from their mistakes,” Norman told NewsNation’s Dan Abrams in an interview on Thursday. NewsNation is owned by Nexstar, which also owns The Hill.
When pressed by Abrams on whether he thinks the Saudis specifically have done so, Norman added, “Yes, I do.”
He said he had been in Saudi Arabia building a golf course before becoming the CEO of LIV Golf, which he said was “way before any of this ‘who-ha-ha’ erupted.” He said the Saudis see that golf is a “force for good” and that is being demonstrated in the country.
“’Golf diplomacy’ is something I’ve been extremely passionate about for more than a quarter of a century,” Norman said.
Norman and LIV Golf have received strong criticism over their ties to and financial support from Saudi Arabia, whose government has been documented to have committed human rights abuses for many years.
Amnesty International has noted that the Saudi regime uses torture as a punishment, severely restricts free speech, does not allow protests and has overseen many arbitrary arrests.
Controversy surrounding the regime reached a new level when Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post who had been critical of the Saudi regime, was killed in a Saudi embassy in Turkey in 2018.
U.S. intelligence and other international investigators have concluded that the Saudi regime, specifically Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was responsible for ordering Khashoggi’s killing.
Norman has defended LIV Golf’s ties to Saudi Arabia, saying that people should look at how the country is changing its culture and noting that “we’ve all made mistakes.”
“If we can use golf as a platform to grow a country, improve a country, fantastic. Hallelujah,” he told Abrams.