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Golfers choose dollars over meaning in the Saudi Arabia tournament



LA JOLLA, California – Justin Rose hardly had time to admire his new trophy or count the $ 1,278 million he won to capture the Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday at Torrey Pines before he had to scramble to catch a flight out of the city.

To Saudi Arabia.

Patrick Reed, who finished about 30 minutes before Rose, rushed off the track to catch the first of two flights scheduled to get him to Saudi Arabia around 4pm on Tuesday to play in Saudi International, the latest European Tour event. .

Among the other stars of the sport dragged on to join the Rose and Reed to play in case this week is Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter.

Although the tournament purses are $ 3.5 million, these players are assumed to receive substantial-looking fees upwards of more than $ 1

million.

On the surface, the event looks like another money for these multi-millionaire planners.

But the underpayment has an unpleasant sensation – starting with the European Tures decision to put an event in such a dangerous country, pursued by terrible human rights practices.

These players are independent contractors, and they & # 39; have the right to hunt the money they choose.

But in this case, you can not do without what price it is worth risking for their own welfare, and if there are any part of them that take into account the scary things that arise in that country, made by its involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October.

Saudi Arabia's human rights record has come under heavy control since Khashoggi's death, which critically wrote about Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman in columns for the Washington Post.

Paul Casey, a prominent European Tour player who is also UNICEF's ambassador, is a well-known player who has rejected an invitation to the event, c It is the country's human rights abuses among his reasons.

However, Casey is a lone wolf on this, with the other players blindly igniting as if it were only a golf tournament in another country.

When the post asked Reed after his round Sunday if he had any concerns about his security there, he said, "No, because the European tour has covered us."

This answer was just as much naive to exactly how protected anyone can be from a golf course governing body and unaware of the problems that are taking place in that country.

"We're athletes," Reed said. "We're going to play golf. We leave it for the people who handle politics."

Reed called it "a very easy decision" for him to go to Saudi Arabia and said, "I know Saudi Really trying to play the golf game, I'm a big advocate of playing the golf game all over the world. If I can help with that, I'm all for it. "

It sounds so altruistic, but it's not. It's about money, wealthy players who make their pockets with more money than they ever need. And you must wonder if it's all worth it.

"I'm not a politician. I'm a pro golfer," Rose said after his victory. "There are reasons to play it. It's a good field, there are many world ranking points to play for, and for all accounts it's a good golf course. It will be an experience to experience Saudi Arabia."

Hopefully, Rose will and Reed and the others be a safe experience.

Brandel Chamblee, a former PGA Tour player and current Golf Channel analyst, went on a passionate tirade of sorts on Sunday and called out to the players to participate in the tournament.

"To blind the eyes of the slaughter of a media member somehow euphemizes the cruel cruelty that did not only take place with the Jamal Khashoggi murder, but what is going on all the time," Chamblee said. "Non-participation – and I welcome Paul Casey – somehow make a statement on human rights. By joining, [the players] are ventriloquists for the abominable, reprehensible regime.

" I can't imagine what economic incentive it would take for me to go to a place so violent on the wrong side of human rights. I do not understand it economically, I do not understand from a business point of view, and I do not understand it morally. "


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