Nice line among many gems from Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch summing up the week “grow the game” was used to hide behind a deplorable all-around showing by the European Tour in going to Saudi Arabia, where no fans showed up, media was almost non-existent and players grabbed the Crown Prince’s dirty money.
This was nice too:
Conscientious objecting is a fraught business, of course. Is a golfer who can’t countenance competing in Saudi Arabia because of human rights abuses then obliged to skip the PGA Tour stop in China? How current or egregious or well-publicized must violations be to warrant a boycott? And what about events staged in countries that arm evil regimes? It’s a fine, blurred line between conscience and compromise.
Yet sometimes a decision is deceptively simple. Like when a golf tournament is manufactured purely as a public-relations fig leaf for an abhorrent government. Last week’s Saudi International was just such a situation, no matter how much ‘Whataboutery’ was trafficked by slavish lickspittles in their attempt to justify enjoying Saudi hospitality.
The Guardian’s Marina Hyde offered this look at the player’s grabbing the Crown Prince’s money and:
Still, let’s play out with arguably my favourite take on it all, which emanated from the American Patrick Reed. Asked if he had any safety concerns about visiting Saudi Arabia, last year’s Masters champion dismissed the idea. “No,” breezed Reed, “because the European Tour has us covered.” On the one hand, yes. It feels vanishingly unlikely that anything unpleasant would happen to golfers paid to burnish Saudi Arabia’s dismal image. On the other, if the chips do go down, and you want a really crack unit to have your back covered, who you gonna call? The SAS, Delta Force, Seal Team Six, or … hang on, what was it again? … ah yes. The European Tour. Veteran of zero deadly missions, but several increasingly daring sorties into enemy coffers.
And Club Pro Guy with the Tweet of the week:
One other noteworthy item was this column from Morning Read’s Alex Miceli taking issue with Brandel Chamblee highlighting just some of the host’s more deplorable acts while Golf Channel did not treat this inaugural event as something of great importance (nor did any fans!).
He fell back on grow the game to justify his and the player’s appearance there.
At the same time, touring pros understand that golf’s future could be in jeopardy without trying to expand the game’s base and expose a country such as Saudi Arabia to world-class tournament golf.
Can we all at least agree that, based on a tournament with no fans and cash merely being grabbed, the game was not “grown”?