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At Pumpkin Ridge's Saudi-backed LIV golf tournament, a 'Kids Zone' and 'Fan Village' await attendees

The series has drawn fire for its origins: It's backed by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund. The country's human rights record has made it a magnet for criticism.
Credit: KGW

PORTLAND, Ore. — While organizers of a controversial Saudi-government backed golf tournament planned for Oregon declined to answer questions about the fabric of the event, they did reveal an array of activities designed to attract families, veterans and teachers.

LIV Golf further confirmed that some of the sport's biggest names — Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau — will play in the tournament, which takes place June 30 through July 2 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains.

The LIV series has drawn fire for its origins: It's backed by the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund. The country's human rights record, which includes the murder of a journalist and questions over whether officials helped an accused hit-and-run driver leave Portland before his trial, has made it a magnet for criticism.

RELATED: Sen. Ron Wyden urges Pumpkin Ridge golfers to consider Saudi government human rights abuses

Many have dubbed the tour as "sportswashing," which refers to events designed to detract from a country's questionable policies and other misdeeds.

The Portland Business Journal had reached out to the LIV golf league organizers for comments for a piece that ran June 22. The group responded to the PBJ Thursday by passing on the opportunity to expound on how the event landed at Pumpkin Ridge, its potential economic impact on the region and reactions to the LIV event. 

The LIV series, which hopes to compete with the PGA tour by offering giant bonuses and tournament payouts, has attracted criticism from many PGA golfers.

RELATED: Despite growing backlash, controversial Saudi-backed golf tournament coming to Oregon

LIV Golf did detail a number of activities that will take place at Pumpkin Ridge. The festivities include:

  • An interactive "Fan Village," described as "an immersive area featuring a food festival-style atmosphere with popular food and drink offerings from the region.
  • Within the Fan Village a "Kids Zone" that will "engage youth with children’s entertainers, face painting, soft play equipment for climbing, mini-golf putting challenges and educational activations based on STEM lessons."
  • A "Golf Performance Center" featuring professional coaches who'll offer tips on chipping and putting.
  • The "Metaverse Tent," for gamers.
  • A fireworks show after play ends on Saturday night.

The Portland Business Journal has more details.

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