Tiger Woods has reportedly declined a $ 3 million (₹ 21.5 crores) offer for playing a golf tournament in Saudi Arabia.
An offer worth $ 3 million happened to be too little a lure to get Tiger Woods’ consent for the European Tour’s Saudi International. The ace golfer has stayed away from the cash-rich tournament due to the host nation’s poor human rights record.
Woods has himself confirmed that he did not take the lucrative offer worth $3 million to play in the European Tour’s Saudi International at the end of January for the second successive year.
“I just don’t want to go over there,” Woods reportedly told ESPN. “It’s a long way.”
The tournament is inviting criticism for being backed by the Saudi Government, which has a poor human rights record. Besides, carrying out numerous executions the nation has also been ridiculed for killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Istanbul. The journalist had reported against Saudi Prince Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Washington Post.
However, Woods has defended Phil Mickelson for his decision to play in the same tournament. World No 1 Brooks Koepka and defending champion Dustin Johnson will also join the action in the event slated for January 2020.
Responding to a question about Mickelson accepting the offer to play in the Saudi Arabian tournament, Woods said: “I understand the politics behind it. But also the game of golf can help heal a lot of that, too. It can help grow it (the game). 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.’’