Multiple major winners Dustin Johnson, left, and Phil Mickelson, right, were among those targeted by a letter from a September 11, 2001 victim families group saying they feel betrayed by the golfers for joining the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series / © AFP
The chair of a September 11, 2001, attacks victims' families group says members are outraged by the "betrayal" of US golfers playing in the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational Series.
The comments from Terry Strada, the widow of a 9/11 victim, were made in a public letter Friday to agents of such major champions as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed.
"Please rethink your membership in this Saudi enterprise," Strada wrote. "We urge you to reconsider so that you can stand with us and send a message to the Kingdom: you cannot buy respect, you must earn it."
All have been confirmed as signing with the rebel series, which offers the richest purses in golf history, after departing the US PGA Tour.
All are set to play in the upcoming US Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, which is organized by the US Golf Association.
"Our community wishes to express our outrage at your partnership with LIV Golf and remind you of the responsibility that your new business partner, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, shoulders for providing the financial support and logistical support that enabled the terrorists to attack our nation and kill our loved ones," Strada wrote.
"Much to our disappointment, you appear pleased to be in business with them. Given Saudi Arabia's role in the death of our loved ones and those injured on 9/11 -— your fellow Americans —- we are angered that you are so willing to help the Saudis cover up this history in their request for 'respectability.'"
Strada has been active in the group that has sued Saudi Arabia for complicity in the 9/11 attacks in which almost 3,000 people died, something the Saudi government has denied.
But Strada said US golfers who opt to play in the new series have betrayed the victims' families.
"Please, do not insult our loved ones' memories and take the pathetic position, as one of your foreign colleagues did last week, claiming you are 'just golfers playing a game' or blandly treating the evils of the Saudi regime as 'human rights' concerns. You're all Americans, keenly aware of the death and destruction of September 11.
"Whether it was the appeal of millions of dollars of hard cash or just the opportunity to prosecute your professional grievances with the PGA, you have sold us out."
Strada said no consideration should ever be made to allow LIV Golf players to represent the United States in the Ryder Cup.
"We understand that some of you are hopeful that rule changes will be implemented to allow you to again represent America in the Ryder Cup despite your betrayal of American interests in joining the Saudi 'sports wash,'" Strada wrote.