‘Nobody’s perfect’: Bryson DeChambeau grilled on Saudi funding in CNN interview

Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson DeChambeau and Saudi PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan at the Saudi International in 2021.

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After the news of the PGA Tour’s merger with the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) broke on Tuesday morning, the global media scrambled to acquire additional details and player perspective on the deal.

Bryson DeChambeau, who was among the contingent of high-profile players to defect from the PGA Tour and join LIV Golf last year, was one of only a few players to comment publicly on air the day the news broke.

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins grilled DeCheambeau on the topics of the day, starting with his initial thoughts on the merger.

“I think this is the best thing that could ever happen for the game of golf,” DeChambeau said. “And I am extremely proud to be a part of that because of the fact that the fans are gonna get what they want, the players are gonna experience something a little different, a little new, on the PGA Tour side, but I truly believe, in the end, the game of golf wins in this scenario.”

When Collins asked DeChambeau what he thought about the PGA Tour players who resisted lucrative LIV contracts to stay loyal to the Tour, and whether or not he thought Jay Monahan was a hypocrite, DeChambeau said that PGA Tour players had been given “bad information,” though when Collins pressed him on what that bad information was, DeChambeau couldn’t come up with specifics.

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Jay Monahan, Rory McIlroy and Yasir Al-Rumayyan.
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“I mean look, there’s a lot of information that can be delivered on both sides,” he said. “Now, whether it’s right or wrong is always subject to what people believe. And behind closed doors there was a lot going on that anyone could really take in. And a lot of players just weren’t willing to take the risk. Whereas players like myself had some decent information and was willing to take that risk because not only did, it would change our lives, but it would potentially change the landscape of the game of golf.”

DeCheambeau seemed confident and somewhat cavalier throughout the interview, taking swigs from a canned beverage in between questions from Collins. But her next topic of discussion took a more serious tone, and is one that LIV players have faced since the league first game to fruition. Recently declassified government documents have revealed links between Saudi Arabia and the September 11th terrorist attacks, though the Saudi government has denied involvement. So how, Collins asked, does DeChambeau reconcile the fact that LIV, and now this new PGA Tour merger, are backed by the Saudi PIF?

“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,” DeChambeau said. “And I think as time has gone on, 20 years have passed, and we’re in a place now where it’s time to start trying to work together to make thing better together as a whole. I don’t know exactly what they’re feeling — I can’t ever know what they feel. But I have a huge amount of respect for their position and what they believe.

“Nor do I ever want anything like that to ever occur again,” he continued. “I think as we move forward from that, we’ve got to look towards the pathway to peace and forgiveness. Especially if we’re trying to mend the world and make it a better place.”

Collins pushed back again, asking DeChambeau how he feels about being funded by a government that has been accused of financing terrorism and murdering Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“Yeah, I mean look, it’s unfortunate what has happened, and that’s something I cannot necessarily speak on as I’m a golfer,” DeChambeau said. “But what I can say is that, what they’re trying to do, what they’re trying to work on, is to be better allies, because we are allies with them. And look I’m not going to get in the politics of it, I’m not specialized in that, but what I can say is they’re trying to do good for the world and showcase themselves in a light that hasn’t been seen in a while. And nobody’s perfect, but we’re all trying to improve in life.”

You can watch DeChambeau’s full interview with Collins below.

Golf.com Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.

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