NORTH PLAINS, Ore. (KOIN) — As LIV Golf’s first tournament in the United States comes to Oregon, families of the September 11 terrorist attack victims are in the Beaver State to meet them.

Nine family members of victims and one survivor of the attack spoke out against the tournament Thursday, saying the combined $20 million in prize money is ‘blood money’ from the Saudi regime.

“Never would I imagine that I would have the be here with other 9/11 family members, flying across the country, to speak out against American golfers who are getting in bed with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Brett Eagleson, whose father died in the attack nearly 21 years ago.

The reason for the outrage comes from documents released by the FBI in 2021, detailing the Saudi government’s involvement. The documents show at least one Saudi Arabian Embassy official was aware of the attack, and other Saudi government officials were supporting hijackers when they arrived in the United States, ahead of the attack. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia to the United States.

“This event is nothing more than a group of talented athletes who have appeared to turn their backs on the crime of murder,” said Tim Frolich, a survivor of the September 11 attack.

Though documents were released, charges were never brought. The wounds from two decades ago have felt reopened by the tournament in North Plains. Eagleson says he will follow the tournament to other stops around the United States, recruiting more families and survivors with him.

“We’re going to be in your face for every tournament on U.S. soil. This is an attack, just like they attacked us on American soil, Saudis now have the audacity to come here, buy our players and try to sports-wash, distract us,” Eagleson said. “Try and have their tournament on our soil, you’re going to be met by us.”

As some of golf’s biggest names take the tee box at Pumpkin Ridge, one name sits on Mike Allen’s mind—Fallon Smart. He held a sign outside of the tournament Friday as thousands of cars drove by into the tournament.

“The guy who killed Fallon Smart should come to justice in my mind and all these people need a little reminder,” Allen said.

Smart was 15-years-old when she was killed in a hit and run in 2016 on Hawthorne Boulevard. The driver, Abdularahmen Sameer Noorah, was arrested and charged with manslaughter. KOIN 6 News found the Saudi consulate paid his $100,000 bail and the U.S. Government believes the Saudi regime helped him escape to that country.

“People need to know what this tournament supports, the way I see it and it supports that government,” Allen said.

Allen and 9/11 families also point to the treatment of women, the execution of dissenters and LGBTQ people, the bombing campaign and war Saudi Arabia is conducting in Yemen, and the murder of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi as reasons to not support the tournament.

For Sean Passananti, his father, Horace, died in the September 11 attack. He said his father and him bonded over golf and the last time he saw his father was over a round of golf.

“Golf is an honorable game and most players would rather call a penalty on themselves than win by cheating. Saudi Arabia is trying to sports-wash their reputation. Instead of admitting their support and funding for Al-Queda, they are trying through the honorable game of golf to buy legitimacy,” Passananti said.

LIV Golf sent KOIN 6 News the following statement:

“We have tremendous respect and sympathy for the families of anyone whose loved one was killed on September 11, 2001. Al Qaeda’s attack on the United States was a national tragedy. We continue to believe that sports, including golf, are an important way to bring change to the world. Sports is a productive outlet for millions of young people everywhere and we are proud that golf is increasingly popular throughout the world, including the Middle East. Golf is a force for good that entertains and teaches the values of fair play, competition, and excellence through hard work. We understand and respect that not everyone will agree with us, but we believe deeply that golf is a force for good and we look forward to continuing our efforts to grow the game, in the U.S. and around the world.”