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Is it a good deal to sell out your personal integrity for cash from notorious scoundrels?
Depends on your sell-out price, chortle some 48 ethically-stunted professional golfers who’ve peddled both their honor and honesty to the murderous moneyed monarchs who rule Saudi Arabia. The golfers, who are already millionaires, rushed to grab money thrown at their feet by the royal kingdom, which oddly thinks it can launder its public image by sponsoring a money-soaked global golf tour. Of course, a golf tournament needs golfers, but the Saudis had none, so they simply bought some. First, former stars Phil Mickelson and Greg Norman signed away their integrity to join, taking at least $200 million apiece. Then Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau took $150 million each from Team Saudi, and the likes of Brooks Koepka and Sergio Garcia quicky scrambled to get theirs.
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Worse than the golfers’ unsightly money grubbing, however, is their insufferable dishonesty, trying to whitewash their taking of what is literally blood money. Mickelson faked moral outrage at the Kingdom’s rulers, calling them “less than savory individuals” and piously proclaiming that he did not condone “human rights violations.” But he certainly has condoned (and cashed) the checks written to him by the violators.
But Greg Norman, the former pro who led recruitment of golfer talent for the Saudis, offered the most pathetic moral excuse for selling out. Asked how he could link arms with a potentate so barbarous as to have had a critic of the regime murdered and chopped into pieces, Norman said: “look, we’ve all made mistakes.”
There’s a word that describes what these golfing multimillionaires are doing: “Disgusting.” The good news is that most pros – including bigger-name stars like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Justin Thomas – have some values that they refuse to trade for dollars.