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Business-like atmosphere pervades LIV Golf event

Few attendees of the LIV Golf event at Oregon's Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club "talked about the controversy without being asked" during Thursday's first round surrounding LIV's Saudi backing. In fact, it "felt cheerful, busy and sunny -- like any other major sporting event." There were "no protesters visible nor any signs admonishing the tournament." No "obvious disruptions occurred." If one "didn’t know of the simmering conflict preceding the event, it would not be apparent that the tournament was mired in controversy for two months" (WILLAMETTE WEEK, 6/30).

LIV’s first event in London was "capped at 8,000 tickets, but tournament officials declined to give an attendance number for Pumpkin Ridge (it wasn’t crowded)" (USA TODAY, 6/30). There was "very little juice from the crowd, but the broadcast acted like it was Sunday at a major" (THEATHLETIC.com, 6/30). The tourney began with AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” blaring through speakers, and a "skydiver pulling a massive LIV Golf flag parachuted onto the 10th fairway." Greg Norman "stood on the first tee box, chatting nonchalantly" with Brooks Koepka (Portland OREGONIAN, 6/30).

Brett Eagleson, president of a group called 9/11 Justice, "headed a 10-person contingent of those who lost loved ones in the attacks to speak out against the Saudi funding of the LIV Golf event." The group gathered "a couple of miles from Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club." A few hours before the first round, members of 9/11 Justice held a press conference. The group also "traveled to the players' hotel in Portland on Thursday morning to discuss their position with any player they could find." They were eventually "stopped by security and turned away" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 6/30).

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