Bill barring Saudi-backed golf tournament edges toward law

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Nikita Biryukov | October 17, 2022 | NJ Monitor |

Measure introduced after event at Donald Trump’s Bedminster golf course in July

New Jersey moved closer to banning some sports events paid for by foreign governments after a Senate panel approved a bill Thursday barring them from being hosted in the state, a measure inspired by the 2022 LIV Golf Invitational held at former President Donald Trump’s Bedminster golf club in July.

Sen. Andrew Zwicker (D-Middlesex) said he and fellow sponsor Sen. Dick Codey (D-Essex) introduced the bill in a bid to stop further events backed by Saudi Arabia because of the nation’s troubling human rights record.

“It is tailored to go specifically after one particular golf tournament that is sponsored by one particular country with an abhorrent human rights record,” Zwicker said during a Senate State Government Committee hearing.

Though he did not name Saudi Arabia as the country, there’s little question over the bill’s target.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, a sovereign wealth fund fueled by the nation’s oil trade, has reportedly invested $2 billion into LIV Golf, funds that allow it to offer massive signing bonuses to professional golfers while maintaining larger prize pools than the PGA Tour.

LIV Golf opponents have charged the tour is a bid to reform an image damaged by Saudi Arabia’s abysmal human rights record, a practice called sportswashing.

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