Rose sidesteps controversy ahead of Saudi International debut

Rose sidesteps controversy ahead of Saudi International debut

The Saudi International trophy pictured on the first tee prior to the Saudi International at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club on January 29, 2019 in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. "I think having the top three players in the world and many other great players here, we're all here to support growing the game of golf, and golf is our industry".

The European Tour is holding its first event in Saudi Arabia against a backdrop of criticism over the choice of venue in the wake of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October and the kingdom's human rights record. "By participating, (the players) are ventriloquists for this abhorrent, reprehensible regime".

The SGF, with a plan to develop up to 18 golf courses by 2030 in the kingdom, has embarked on a program to develop mass participation and elite players. It wasn't something we're proud of or sponsored by the government. "We can't play anywhere in Europe this time of year". If we want to provide the best entertainment for you, it's part of our process. The quality of life has to improve. At every turn, European Tour CEO Keith Pelley has swatted away suggestions that the tournament should or would be moved away from Saudi Arabia. The quality of living is another thing.


"It's part not only of the strategy of the Saudi Golf Federation, but also part of the strategy of the Public Investment Fund, that they're building - and I am the managing director of the Public Investment Fund". "We haven't come to a final decision, but we are really considering it", revealed Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan.

"We are working now to put together an LET or LPGA (event). If not this year, for sure next year", said Majed.

At the moment, there are only 220 registered players in the kingdom, though it is estimated that there are around 6,000 regular golfers between Saudis and ex-pats.


Announcing the Beckham-Zidane tie-up with images of the legendary pair on a giant screen behind him, the Saudi sports minister, Turki Al-Sheikh said: 'This is an exhibition match including two big worldwide stars - Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham playing against each other - each will be in a different team - alongside other world stars.

"Our partnership with Almulla is based on our belief in nurturing Saudi talent and our recognition of the power of the game of golf, which has long gone hand-in-hand with the development of business opportunities", said Khaled Tash, deputy governor of marketing and communications of SAGIA.

"I'm not a politician, I'm a pro golfer", said No. 1-ranked Justin Rose after his victory Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open. It's never straightforward, is it?


"I think everyone here this week probably had a few thoughts about it but the Tour assured us that everything would be safe, we'd be looked after well and they wanted us to play to support a new event on the schedule". It all gets underway around 10PM or so our time depending on your time zone Wednesday night, and the DraftKings European Tour golf contests are just as good as any.

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