Tiger Woods: why he will NEVER ever play in the Saudi International

Tiger Woods has turned down HUGE MONEY to compete in the Saudi International in previous years. 

Andy Roberts's picture
Tue, 1 Feb 2022
Tiger Woods: why he will NEVER ever play in the Saudi International

Tiger Woods has reportedly turned down $3 million to compete in the Saudi International in previous years, citing he has no interest in ever travelling over to Saudi Arabia. 

Woods, now 46, is said to have declined several invitations to the controversial tournament that began in 2019 when won by Dustin Johnson. 

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Back then the tournament was under European Tour (now DP World Tour) hands from 2019 to 2021, but it has since switched to Asian Tour ownership. 

For 2022, the prize purse has increased from $3.5 million to $5 million, and the winner now receives just over $800,000 as opposed to $570,000. 

But it's the hefty pre-tournament pay cheques that are being handed out like confetti at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club this week to the likes of Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and other star PGA Tour names that has raised most eyebrows.

Doing their bit to grow the game, or simply there to inflate their already substantial bank balances?

We know where we stand on the argument. 

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Woods might not be in a fit bill of health to even consider competing in the Saudi International this week, but back in December 2019 he told ESPN's Bob Harig why he has no interest in ever competing in the tournament. 

"I just don't want to go over there," Woods told Harig. "It's a long way."

As the crow flies, it's little more than 7,500 miles to Saudi Arabia from where Woods resides in the United States. 

You could also argue, does Woods really need the money? 

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Despite the European Tour deciding to host the first Saudi International in 2019, just a year after the murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggihad (who been critical of Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman) in Istanbul, Woods admitted he understood the "politics" of the Saudi International but that he still defended the staging of it. 

"It's traditionally not a golf hotbed., the Middle East, but it has grown quite a bit," said Woods. 

"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."

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Ahead of the PNC Championship in December 2021, where Woods and his son Charlie went on to finish second, the 15-time major champion was asked for his thoughts on the PGA Tour going up against Greg Norman's Saudi-backed circuit and where his allegiance lied.

Woods was all in for the PGA Tour. "That's where my legacy is," affirmed Woods. 

He added: "I understand some of the comparisons are very similar to when Arnold [Palmer] and Jack [Nicklaus] broke off from the PGA of America to start the Tour, but I don’t see it that way.

"I think the Tour has done a fantastic job; [PGA Tour commission] Jay [Monahan] has done an unbelievable job during a very difficult time during the pandemic when there was ample opportunities for players to leave, but were the first sporting tour to start.

"I think the PGA Tour is in great hands, they’re doing fantastic, and prize money is going up. It’s just not guaranteed money like most sports are. It’s just like tennis – you have to go out there and earn it."

Woods made his competitive comeback at the 2021 PNC Championship but it remains to be seen when we will next see him back on the PGA Tour as he continues to recover from his serious leg injuries sustained during his horror car crash in Los Angeles nearly a year ago.

NEXT PAGE: PGA TOUR PRO SAYS "CASH IS KING" AS HE LOOKS AHEAD TO SAUDI INTERNATIONAL