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LIV Golf’s Bryson DeChambeau has come under fire for comments he made Tuesday in which he defended the PGA Tour’s impending merger with the Saudi Arabian-backed LIV Golf tour.

Critics blasted the PGA Tour on Tuesday for merging with the controversial golf tour, especially since LIV is tied to the Saudi government. Among the critics of the merger is 9/11 Families United, an organization consisting of family members killed in the terrorist attacks:

“9/11 Families United is shocked and deeply offended by the newly announced merger between the PGA Tour and the LIV Golf league that is bankrolled by billions of sportswashing money from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the organization said in a statement. “Saudi operatives played a role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and now it is bankrolling all of professional golf.”

DeChambeau — who signed with LIV on a contract reportedly valued at $125 million — told CNN on Tuesday the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is trying to do good in the world. He also said critics of the merger and of the Saudi government should attempt “forgiveness” on the “pathway to peace.”

MORE: LIV Golf-PGA Tour merger, explained

“We’ll never be able to repay the (9/11) families back for what exactly happened just over 20 years ago,” DeChambeau told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins. “And what happened was definitely horrible. And I think as time has gone on, 20 years have passed and we’re in a place now where it’s time to start trying to work together to make things better together as a whole.”

Added DeChambeau: “I think as we move forward from that, we’ve got to look towards the pathway to peace, especially in forgiveness, especially if we’re trying to mend the world and make it a better place. I think this is what LIV is trying to accomplish, the (Saudi Public Investment Fund) is trying to … accomplish. …”

The Saudi government has denied it financially backed the terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks. However, Collins also pointed out criticism of the Saudi government isn’t just tied to the attacks, but also a notable history of human rights violations.

The CIA also determined in 2018 that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia ordered the assassination of Washington Post reporter and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

MORE: Meet Yasir Al-Rumayyan, chairman of PGA Tour’s new entity

DeChambeau again deflected Collins’ points, saying he did not want to get into the politics of the merger. He added that he believed Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) — the financial backer of LIV Golf and, soon, the PGA-LIV conglomerate — are “trying to do good for the world” and “showcase” themselves in a positive light.

Other critics of the move include Brandel Chamblee, a former PGA Tour pro and currently a broadcaster for NBC’s Golf Channel.

Chamblee has on numerous occasions accused the Saudi government of attempting to hide its history of human rights violations through “sportswashing,” or using its expansive wealth to attract athletes to perform in its financially backed leagues.

MORE: Why Brooks Koepka called out Brandel Chamblee

Despite any purported unification between the PGA and LIV, it’s clear anger and criticism over the impending merger will not cease anytime soon.



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