Money Doesn't Make the World Go Around for McIlroy
THANKFULLY, it is not all about money after all. For some, at least.
Despite being offered almost £2m, Rory Mcilroy has joined Tiger Woods in boycotting the Saudi International. Even for somebody as wealthy as McIlroy undoubtedly is, that is a not insignificant sum to walk away from, but he has decided to take a stance against the Kingdom.
World number one Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson have already signed up for the tournament.
"It's just not something that would excite me. 100%, there's a morality to it as well,” said McIlroy about his decision to miss the event, which takes place from 30 January until 2 February. "You could say that about so many countries, not just Saudi Arabia, but a lot of countries that we play in that there's a reason not to go, but for me, I just don't want to go."
Amnesty International describes the Saudi regime's human rights records as "heinous" but the country has been attempting to lure big sporting events to the Kingdom, including the world heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr in Riyadh.
The four-time major winner conceded that he had watched the Joshua-Ruiz bout on television, but added that his tournament appearances in the early part of 2020 will be confined to PGA Tour events. "I think the atmosphere looks better at the events on the west coast [of America] and I'd much rather play in front of big golf fans and play in a tournament that really excites me," McIlroy explained.
Mickelson has defended his decision to compete. He said: "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’ve never been. I understand those who are upset or disappointed. You’ll be OK. I’m excited to experience this for the first time.”
He concluded by saying that he was looking forward to “doing my bit to grow the game in the kingdom” of Saudi Arabia. It would be interested to know precisely how he believes he is going to achieve that.
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