Citing ‘hatred,’ Anna Nordqvist ends Aramco deal, but will still play in Saudi Arabia

Citing ‘hatred,’ Anna Nordqvist ends Aramco deal, but will still play in Saudi Arabia
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Anna Nordqvist has ended her ambassadorship deal with Saudi oil company Aramco. 

The three-time major champion told the Swedish news agency TT in an interview that she received harsh criticism for the partnership. 

“It didn’t really turn out the way I thought it would,” Nordqvist said. “I need to think about myself and I haven’t felt good about this.”

Nordqvist added: “I wasn’t really prepared to get such an incredible amount of hatred and mean comments from people who don’t even know me.”

Aramco is owned by the Saudi Arabian government, which has recently invested billions of dollars in sports. The Saudi regime is funding the controversial LIV Golf circuit, which has poached notable stars in the men’s game from the PGA Tour. Aramco is one of the biggest sponsors of the Ladies European Tour. Critics accuse the Saudi regime of “sportswashing” its contentious record on human rights.  

Amnesty International, an international non-governmental organization focused on human rights, called Nordqvist’s decision to cut ties with Aramco “very wise.”

Nordqvist, 35, announced the ambassadorship last year and initially thought it would be a good opportunity to promote the women’s game. 

“It was never about money for me,” the Swede said. “I wanted to do something for ladies’ golf and especially for the European Tour.”

Despite cutting ties with the Saudi oil company, however, Nordqvist will play next week’s LET event, the Aramco Saudi Ladies International Presented By Public Investment Fund in Saudi Arabia. 

“I need to get in four tournaments on the [Ladies] European Tour before August because my big goal is to play in the Solheim Cup,” she said.

“I feel it’s important to play all over the world, to influence younger generations to dream big.”

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