A new golf tournament series set up by Saudi Arabia was bashed in a gruesome, scathing spoof in The Onion that featured a photo-edited beheading on the greens during an imagined competition.
The Saudis have launched the LIV tournament series to compete with the PGA in a move widely viewed as so-called “sportswashing” — an attempt to “launder” the nation’s human rights abuses and atrocities, such as the brutal dismemberment murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
American golfers like Phil Mickelson have been harshly criticized for participating in the tournament series. Yet former president Donald Trump has heaped praise on the “gold rush” events, and has urged players to sign up. He even hosted an LIV tournament in July at his Bedminster course in New Jersey attended by several far-right backers. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said she loved the event vibe.
The Onion’s version of an LIV game wasn’t nearly so fawning. It featured a woman in a burqa about to be beheaded on the course during play.
Players “expressed frustration of the hazards on the course at the Royal Greens Gold and Country Club, where they reportedly were forced to putt around a woman being beheaded,” said the satirical publication’s fake news story.
“I was doing all right until the 13th hole, when it cost me three strokes to hit around that executioner chopping off an infidel woman’s head right in the middle of the fairway,” said made-up golfer Bubba Watson.
The LIV tournament series is being funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, which is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. U.S. intelligence determined that he was responsible for the 2018 murder of Khashoggi, who wrote for The Washington Post, in the wake of his criticisms of the Saudi government.
The Saudis have also been linked to the 9/11 terrorism attacks in the U.S. — including a number of times by Trump himself.
Phil Mickelson opted to participate in the series even though he reportedly told a biographer that the Saudis are “scary motherfuckers to get involved with.”
“We know they killed Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay,” he added.
Yet Mickelson said he was participating in the tournaments because it’s a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”