Masters champion Bubba Watson on Saudi Arabia: "They're TRYING to change"

The 12-time PGA Tour winner has been speaking about the Saudi International, due to take place next February. 

Ben Smith's picture
Thu, 9 Dec 2021

Masters champion Bubba Watson on Saudi Arabia: "They're TRYING to change"

Bubba Watson has always been the type of player who is strongly opinionated. 

The two-time Masters champion is one of a number of big names who is down to play the 2022 Saudi International. 

But here is the catch, the PGA Tour is yet to grant releases for players to play at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in February. 

Watson, 43. who recently told of the mental struggles of life in the professional game in his new book, has given his thoughts.

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He told Golf Monthly: 

"Yeah, it's one of those things where I love to travel and I wanted to travel somewhere else. And in Saudi Arabia, they're trying to change. They started with women's golf, started supporting the women's golf and then they started supporting men's golf. 

"There's women's tournaments already that they sponsor. Trying to grow the game. They're trying to change industry over there, bring golf, bring tourism to Saudi Arabia with the beautiful beaches that they have."

He added: 

"It will be interesting to go over there and play, but also see the beauty of other parts of the world that God's created. I can't wait to get over there. Hopefully the Tour lets us go. 

Again, you know, the charity dollars is what's most important, so the more money I can get in my hands, the more I can give away. So it's an honour and a privilege if they let me go over there and play."

The PGA Tour has previously said in statements that no players have been granted releasing for the tournament. 

It is controversial because it is seen as sportswashing in that the Kingdom is trying to use sport to clean itself of its human rights abuses. 

This is the field:

  • Abraham Ancer
  • Adri Arnaus
  • Rafael Cabrera Bello
  • Paul Casey
  • Bryson DeChambeau
  • Jason Dufner
  • Tommy Fleetwood
  • Sergio Garcia
  • Tyrrell Hatton
  • Dustin Johnson
  • Jason Kokrak
  • Shane Lowry
  • Graeme McDowell
  • Phil Mickelson
  • Kevin Na
  • Joaquin Niemann
  • Louis Oosthuizen
  • Ian Poulter
  • Xander Schauffele
  • Adam Scott 
  • Henrik Stenson
  • Harold Varner III
  • Jhonattan Vegas
  • Bubba Watson
  • Lee Westwood

Rory McIlroy has recently spoken about this issue, arguing that players should be allowed to choose what tournaments they play. 

McIlroy, 32, previously said:

"I think the professional game needs to get to a point where we as professionals need to know where we stand. Are we actually independent contractors? Are we employed by a certain entity? There's a lot of grey area in that and that's what sort of needs to be sorted out, I think."

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