Over the past few weeks, a number of now former PGA Tour golfers have jumped ship to the potentially more lucrative Saudi-backed and Greg Norman fronted LIV Tour, currently conducting its first event outside London.
Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Kevin Na, Sergio Garcia and others left the PGA, leading to the organization to issue a memo suspending those players from participating in future tournaments.
At a recent LIV golf press conference, Mickelson was criticized as a “Saudi stooge” for agreeing to join the organization, although as OutKick founder Clay Travis has pointed out, media outlets rushing to disparage golfers have had no issue with Middle East backers buying up European soccer teams:
American sports media, after ignoring soccer players working for Middle Eastern owners for twenty years, are suddenly outraged by golfers doing the same? It’s embarrassing. American sports media is doing the PGA Tour’s dirty work, attacking a competitor. pic.twitter.com/LN0Debp6k2
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) June 7, 2022
And just today, news broke that the Biden Administration intends to “reset” the US relationship with Saudi Arabia, “effectively moving on from the 2018 murder of Jamal Kashogghi.”
New: Senior US officials have conveyed to Saudi Arabia that the US is prepared to move forward with a reset of the relationship, effectively moving on from the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi in order to repair ties with the key Middle East ally. https://t.co/yQyci2AxTn
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) June 10, 2022
While there are obviously higher stakes in an international diplomatic relationship than in professional golf, it brings up an interesting question: Will the news media criticize the Biden Administration for “downplaying” the Saudi’s behavior the way it did Greg Norman?
That’s the exact wording the Washington Post used when covering Norman’s previous remarks. Will they repeat that phrasing when it comes to the Biden Administration “moving on” and restarting their relationship?
After all, that’s what Norman essentially implied in his much criticized comments:
Take ownership, no matter what it is. Look, we’ve all made mistakes and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward.
Norman’s poor phrasing aside, it seems extremely unlikely that the media will devote the same scrutiny and criticism to Biden as it did to Mickelson and the others. Despite the similarities in language, it’ll almost assuredly prove untenable for reporters to criticize their ideological allies.
Golfers are an easy media target, their friends in government aren’t.
And in any case, it’s not like Biden will even be asked about it, given his now established pattern of avoiding the press.