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Pro Tip on How to Address the PGA-Saudi Partnership: Don't Say 'Nobody's Perfect' Like Bryson DeChambeau Did

SIMON LIM. Shutterstock Images.

I have a sort of informal agreement with the people who play pro golf and run the sport. All I ask is that they provide me free entertainment doing superhuman things on a golf course I can only dream of, and leave the Saving the World to other people. And that arrangement has worked out pretty for as long as I can remember. I mean, to be fair, I'm sure the vast majority of them take part in a ton of charity work and promoting various causes like St. Jude's and so on. And that's of course great. I just don't expect more from them. When the human race has finally figured it all out and ushered in a utopian age of peace and prosperity, I don't expect we'll be sitting around in the Land of Milk and Honey saying, "You know who we have to thank for this? Those guys who could hit it 350 off the tee and had great short games." Call me overly cynical. 

Still, even with those low expectations, it's astonishing how often these guys manage to fall short. For all that money backing both the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, they can't - or won't - hire the sort of semi-competent public relations people you'd expect to find doing the ads for a regional chain of car dealerships. 

I mean, you decide to go into business with a highly polarizing, controversial foreign entity. You know that's going to upset people. That tough questions are coming. It's inevitable. Yet these clowns can't achieve the bare minimum when it comes to handling them. Every time they get in front of a mic and get asked about it, they give answers that wouldn't get them past the Q&A round at Miss Teen USA. Whether it's the opening LIV press event:

Or even the corporate empty suit who runs the PGA:

And now, it was Bryson DeChambeau's turn. You might think one of the earliest players to sign on with LIV, who's been one of the biggest stars on that tour, and who's been asked about this before, would've seen how badly Jay Monahan puked all over his tie and had something in the chamber before he agreed to be interviewed. If so, you'd be very, very wrong:

For starters, he looked like he was in a police interrogation room being told his accomplice is down the hall cutting a deal and he'd better start talking. Second, this is what he came up with?

“I think we’ll never be able to repay the families back for what exactly happened just over 20 years ago, and what happened is definitely horrible. I think as time as gone on, 20 years has passed and we’re in a place now where it’s time to start trying to work together to make things better as a whole. 

I have deep sympathy. I can't say I know what they're feeling. I can't ever know. But I have a huge amount of respect for their position and what they believe. Nor do I ever want anything like that to occur again. As we look forward from that, we need to find a pathway to peace. And forgiveness. Especially if we're trying to mend the world and make it a better place.This is what I think LIV …  is trying to accomplish. Is a better better world for everybody. And provide great entertainment for everybody around the world. 

Then he was asked about evil deeds committed by the government:

"Look, that's unfortunate what happened and it's not something I can necessarily speak on. I'm a golfer. What I can say is what they are trying to do, what they are trying to work on, is to be better allies. Because we are allies with them. Look, I'm not going to get into the politics of it, because I'm not specialized in it.  But what I can say is that they are trying good for the world and showcase themselves in a light that hasn’t been seen in awhile. And, nobody is perfect but we’re all trying to improve in life.”


Giphy Images.

I'll give him some credit for hitting a bullet point or two that he should be saying. And for sure he did better than that corporate, vetted, lawyerspeak word salad Monahan tossed yesterday. But that's a very low bar to clear. It's amazing that with all this time to prepare, otherwise intelligent people are completely unprepared to handle this situation.

Here's a suggestion. The next time any of these golfers are asked these questions, and it's going to happen every day until the sporting press finds something else to be outraged about, try being honest. Forget the spin and the blather about achieving world peace through golf, just talk to us like we're all adults. It might be crazy, but just crazy enough to work. 

You're asking me about the 9/11 families? Here's a shocker for you: I'm devastated for them. Still. To this day. I'm a human being. I'm an American. Every one of us personally knows someone whose family was directly affected. Every time I see that footage, think of those 3,000 people, I feel the same sick feeling we all do. It will never go away. And I don't want it to. It's how we keep the 3,000 victims alive in our hearts. 

But the sad truth is, there's not a damned other thing I can do. I hit a ball with a stick for a living. I don't know how to solve the geopolitical problems of the world. If I did, I would do those things. There's no path to world peace that involves golf. No one's calling for us to beat our swords into 7-irons. I can't bring justice to these families, any more than the person who delivers their mail does. For that, they have to turn to the people in charge of running the country. And the last I looked, Jon Stewart was raving at them in an empty Congressional hearing for refusing to fund the First Responders who are sick and dying from trying to save the survivors. Forgive me for saying this, but your talking to the wrong guy. 

As far as making money from a hostile government, pick up that phone on your desk, read the label, and tell me which Amish craftsmen you bought it from. Or which local artisan is cranking out those shoes all the NBA stars have their names on. Do you think those World Cup stadiums in Qatar were built by union members, overseen by OSHA? How many Olympics have been held in countries that aren't exactly flying rainbow flags this month? I count several, just since 9/11. But that didn't stop your network from sending crews and covering them wall to wall. Besides, the same people running LIV own teams in all your major European soccer leagues. And have backed PGA Tour events. Not to mention, you're doing business with them every time you put gas in your tank and turn the heat on in your house. So if you're looking to draw a moral line somewhere and you're choosing to start with LIV, I'd say you're about 100 years too late. And while you're at it, ask around the world about some of the bad acts our own government is responsible for. The world sucks. But not because of this golf league.

Admittedly, that's a lot to ask from someone who's spent his whole life learning to do things with a club in his hand I can only fantasize about. But if just one of these guys answered the question this bluntly and honestly, none of them would have to do it again.