‘It’s been a really tough couple of months’
Graeme McDowell has revealed he has received death threats following his decision to join the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series.
The 42-year-old was at the centre of controversy at the breakaway circuit’s inaugural event at Centurion Club last month after he defended his actions.
Several people have criticised players for joining the series, given that the funding comes from the Saudi Arabian government.
While McDowell admitted that he expected to be met with backlash following his decision to join the controversial series, he has been left shocked by the abuse he has received on social media.
Graeme McDowell has been speaking to BBC Newsline about what he called the "attacks on his moral integrity" for joining the Saudi-backed LIV Tour in golf. Stephen Watson reports. pic.twitter.com/pUv97F8bhW
— BBC Newsline (@bbcnewsline) July 4, 2022
Speaking about the abuse, McDowell told BBC NI: “I never really have made my peace with how vitriolic the attacks would be regarding my reputation, on social media the things that I’d said being absolutely torn to shreds. And it’s really hard because I’m being asked questions that there are no right answers to.
“I’m having my moral integrity attacked all the time when, at the end of the day, all I’m trying to do is play golf. I’m trying to make a business decision for me and my family. And, you know, I’ve paid my dues in this game over the last 20 years, I’ve tried to carry myself the right way.”
‘I can’t turn on my Instagram or Twitter account without someone telling me to go die’
Discussing the death threats he has received, McDowell continued: “I don’t wake up and feel proud of myself every day. You know, I can’t turn on my Instagram or Twitter account without someone telling me to go die. It’s been a really tough couple of months. But again, I expected it, I knew what the consequences were going to be, I just didn’t realise kind of just how heavily this was going to be hammered, trying to answer questions which are unanswerable.
“That’s probably the only mistake I made in London at the first event when I was in my press conference – I just wish I’d said nothing. I just wish I just sat there and just kind of shook my head and said no comment. But it’s not who I am. I always try and be truthful and try to answer questions. I shouldn’t have bothered.”
McDowell admits money was part of his decision to join LIV Golf Series
A host of the LIV Golf rebels have been criticised for failing to admit the financial incentive behind their decision to join the series, especially given that a £20 million prize pot is on offer at each event.
However, McDowell has now openly admitted that a key reason for his Saudi switch was because of the money on offer to the players competing.
“What I do is I play professional golf, I play golf for money,” he said. “I’ve chased that money all over the world all my career. I’m 43 next month and, you know, the LIV Golf opportunity was incredibly lucrative. Do I research into the morals of every dollar I’ve ever made? No, I don’t.
“And, unfortunately, because of the competitive threat that this tour is compared to the other tours in the world the negativity has been focused heavily on here and it really hurts to kind of see my name attacked the way it has.”
The Northern Irishman is competing at the JP McManus Pro-Am this week, alongside a number of other LIV Golf rebels such as Ian Poulter, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka.
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