While there are several top golfers who have opted into a trip to Saudi Arabia for large appearance fees, one however, has opted out.
Unfortunately, it’s not for the reason we would like.
Per ESPN’s Bob Harig:
“I just don’t want to go over there,” Woods told ESPN. “It’s a long way.
“I understand the politics behind it,” Woods said Tuesday of the controversy. “But also the game of golf can help heal a lot of that, too. It can help grow it. And also a lot of top players are going to be playing there that particular week.
“It’s traditionally not a golf hotbed, the Middle East. But it has grown quite a bit. I remember going to Dubai for my very first time and seeing maybe two or three buildings in the skyline. Now there is a New York City skyline. Again, golf has grown. There were only a few courses when I went to Dubai and now they’re everywhere. Same with Abu Dhabi, and maybe eventually in Saudi Arabia.”
Phil Mickelson, however, stood his ground and said to those who don’t like his decision to play in Saudi Arabia, “You’ll be OK.”
“After turning down opportunities to go to the Middle East for many years, I’m excited to go play and see a place in the world I’d never seen,” said Mickelson, who played in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in 2011 and 2014. “I understand those who are upset or disappointed. You’ll be OK. I’m excited to experience this for the first time.”