Lina Al-Hathloul’s open letter, and the threat of LIV Golf — JTS Cup highlights — Must-click women’s golf links
The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, Oct. 13, 2022
Welcome back to another Golf Thursday. On Tuesday, Lina Al-Hathloul, a Saudi human rights activist and author tweeted an open letter to the LPGA Commissioner, the board, and players detailing the violence her sister suffered at the hands of the Saudi Arabian government. Keep in mind that a few of women’s golf’s biggest names are teeing it up in New York for an Aramco event as you’re reading this — LIV Golf is closer to women’s golf than you might think.
The involvement of the Saudi government in the golf world has consumed the 2022 season, and it is showing no signs of slowing down. In June, Greg Norman expressed that a women’s LIV Golf league was something in the forefront of his mind.
On previous Golf Thursdays, we’ve discussed the implications of what LIV Golf and the Aramco Series have and could potentially have on women’s golf, and how the two are connected. They aren’t entirely separate entities, in fact, they are run by the same company, spearheaded by one man. There is a private equity company called Sanabil Investments, which is a portfolio company of the Public Investment Fund (PIF). Sanabil’s Chairman, HE Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan, is also the Governor of PIF, as well as the Chairman of Aramco and LIV Golf.
LIV is financially backed by PIF, and the presenting partner of Aramco is none other than PIF.
What this web of interconnectedness tells us is that LIV already has ties to women’s golf. The hypothetical situations that have been thrown around are more of a reality than we realize, and it’s time for leaders from the LPGA to make some decisions regarding LIV and Aramco.
It’s a double-sided sword for the women of the LPGA and LET. Money and sponsorships are hard enough to come by, so it’s understandable when they seek other resources to make more money. However, when that money comes with the baggage of a country known for its brutality against women, for lack of better words, things get tricky.
But take players like Nelly Korda and Brooke Henderson, two players who are in better shape financially than most, who are playing in Aramco events. Why? I don’t have an answer but it makes you wonder what the real appeal is.
Let us also be mindful of what’s happening in Iran. Thousands of women and young girls are being beaten, jailed, and even killed for basic human rights. A simple Google search will tell you that there have been geopolitical and religious conflicts between Saudi Arabia and Iran for decades, but the threats both governments inflict on women are not mutually exclusive. The suffering of those women impacts ALL women — especially when they themselves are experiencing censorship and internet blocks. We have a duty to learn about what’s happening and never stop talking about it.
Think back to June when Roe v. Wade was overturned. Players across the tour took to social media to express their outrage by the decision, and in an act of solidarity shared the same message to their own profiles. It was powerful to witness, and it was a unified front. I can only hope that if and when this open letter reaches them, the same sentiment is shared.
The tour will demolish 70+ years of a legacy of encouraging and uplifting women if an eventual partnership with LIV Golf is made, and it will be difficult to watch.
“The world is not divided between East and West. You are American, I am Iranian, we don’t know each other, but we talk together and we understand each other perfectly. The difference between you and your government is much bigger than the difference between you and me. And the difference between me and my government is much bigger than the difference between me and you. And our governments are very much the same.”Marjane Satrapi, French-Iranian graphic novelist, author of Persepolis
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This week in women’s golf
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Epson Tour News
The Epson Tour Championship has a new champion and new 72-hole record, while the Epson Tour has a new all-time scoring record!!!!!! Jaravee Boonchant accomplished all three after finishing 23-under par
Five at The IX: Stanford and Wake Forest in an epic showdown in Florida
The Stanford Cardinal and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons went head to head in Jackson T. Stephens Cup at Seminole GC. Both teams balled out, but ultimately Stanford takes the cup, proving that once again…they mean business. Check out the highlights from the matches:
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