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Sport Dustin Johnson among golfers asking Tour permission to play in controversial Saudi International

03:40  23 october  2021
03:40  23 october  2021 Source:   sports.yahoo.com

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Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson are committed to the 2020 Saudi International , to be held in January at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City. The return of Johnson , the defending champion, and Koepka, the world No. 1, is huge news for the event, which It’s an honor to be a part of it.” Koepka, who finished T57 last year, also released a statement on his appearance. “I’m excited to be returning to Saudi Arabia, after an enjoyable visit last year,” he said. “The golf course is one of the best I’ve played in the region, with incredible scenery, including some

Dustin Johnson took home the first Saudi International on Sunday with a closing 67 on a week marked by controversy over human rights issues , Sergio Garcia getting booted for tearing up the greens and Bryson DeChambeau propping up Saudi Arabia for their efforts in growing the game . The ending was a reminder of Johnson 's giddy up. The two birdies on the final two holes totaled about 4 feet of putting as Li hacked his way through desert sand and rocks and thick rough trying with everything he had to keep up with his playing partner.

A group of golfers have officially asked the PGA Tour for permission to play in the Saudi International next February, according to Golfweek — something the Tour has previously pledged not to allow whatsoever.

The controversial tournament has drawn intense criticism in its four year existence for numerous reasons, and it has since been dropped from the European Tour circut. Full time PGA Tour players are required to get a release in order to participate in other events, or they could face a fine.

The Saudi International will kick off on Feb. 3 at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in Saudi Arabia. The Tour told Golfweek that it is not required to make a decision on waivers until 30 days before a tournament starts.

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Dustin Johnson was steady and solid — two words often used to describe the World's No. 1 player — as he closed out yet another victory, this time the Saudi International at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City. DJ shot a largely mistake-free 68 in Sunday’s final round, making his only bogey of the week (he did have one double in the third round) on the 16th hole before bouncing back with a birdie on No. 17 to put his ninth European Tour victory on ice.

The Saudi International has only been in existence for three years, but it already has a repeat winner. After four days of hotly contested action from Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, Dustin Johnson is the champion at the Saudi International . If you missed the action early this morning, here are three things to know from the week in Saudi Arabia. We’ve been going at this for long enough to admit the obvious: Dustin Johnson is the best player in the world right now, and it isn’t particularly close.

There are eight golfers so far that have applied for the waiver, including defending champion and world No. 2 Dustin Johnson. Graeme McDowell, Abraham Ancer, Lee Westwood, Tommy Fleetwood, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Na and Jason Kokrak — who is actually sponsored by Golf Saudi — have also applied for a release, per the report.

"We have requested a release and don't know when we'll hear back, but I have heard verbally that the Tour is still taking everything under consideration," said David Winkle, Johnson's longtime agent, via Golfweek.

The Saudi International will take place opposite the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February. The Saudi event has a purse of $5 million, while the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is set at $8.7 million. The Saudi event, however, has a long history of paying top players to come and participate and chartering a jet for them. Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka are among stars who have been paid to participate in the past, per the report.

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The Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers is an Asian Tour golf tournament held at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. Established in 2019 as a European Tour event

Golf ’s world number one Justin Rose should use his profile to highlight human rights issues and counter the "propaganda value" of this week's Saudi International , according to Amnesty International . The tournament has attracted a star-studded field despite the killing of journalist Rose has defended his participation by saying: "I'm not a politician, I'm a pro golfer ," but Amnesty would like to see the Olympic champion and other high-profile players put their visits to the country to good use. "We haven't called on golfers to pull out of the Royal Greens event and it's not for us to say who should be playing in

What about the Premier Golf League?

Part of the criticism surrounding the Saudi International has to do with the Saudi Arabian government, which has a long history of human rights abuses and more. The government has invested into countless sporting events in recent years, partly as an effort to change how the country is viewed internationally.

A big reason for the backlash now, though, has to do with the proposed golf super league.

An alternative tour to the PGA Tour and European Tour has been around for nearly a decade, though it gained significant traction once again last year. The Premier Golf League, backed by a group of Saudi investors, was prepared to offer golfers paydays of up to $30 million each to jump away from their respective tours and join the super league instead.

It gained mixed reviews from some of the sport's biggest names. Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas slammed the idea — McIlroy called it a “money grab” — but Phil Mickelson sounded very open to the tour.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in May that any player who leaves for the super league would forfeit their Tour rights and “likely” be expelled for good. A Tour spokesperson told Golfweek in July that it wouldn’t grant any releases for the Saudi International going forward, too, as it is now considered an “unsanctioned” event.

Whether the Tour stands by that — and if any golfers still make the trek to Saudi Arabia anyways — remains to be seen.

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