Woods Turns Down Reputed $10m To Tee-Up In Saudi Arabia But Defends Mickelson

… Albany, Bahamas

Tiger Woods is reputed to have been offered as much as $10m to tee-up in next year’s second edition of the Saudi International and while the 15-time Major winner has declined the offer, he’s come out supporting Phil Mickelson’s decision to compete for a likely $3m.

Mickelson has been somewhat defensive mode since it was formally announced he will tee-up in the event commencing January 30th, 2020.

It does mean missing for a 31st straight year at the now renamed American Express and formerly long-known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic.

Mickelson has been onto Twitter to defend his position.

Tiger Woods comes out in support of Phil Mickelson’s decision to compete in Saudi Arabia next January. (Photo – Getty)

“Given that I turn 50 this year, there’s a good chance I’ve played my last Phoenix Open. We’ll see,” he wrote.

One Twitter user, Brian Flaherty, then had a real dig at Mickelson.

“You’re better than taking the money grab from a corrupt regime. Come on, Phil,” he wrote. Mickelson responded with his longest post of the night.

“After turning down opportunities to go to the Middle East for many years, I’m excited to go play and see a place in the world I’ve never been. I understand those who are upset or disappointed. You’ll be ok. I’m excited to experience this for the first time.”

Woods found himself drawn into the argument on the eve of this week’s $3.3m Hero World Challenge that he’s hosting here in the Bahamas.

“Well, I understand the politics behind it, but the game of golf can actually help heal all that, too,” said Woods.

“It can help grow that. There are also a lot of other top players that are going to be playing that particular week. It’s traditionally not a golf hotbed in the Middle East, but it has grown quite a bit.

“I remember going to Dubai for my very first time and seeing, what, maybe two, three buildings on the skyline when you tee off on No. 8. Now there’s a New York City skyline back there. The game of golf has grown.

“There’s only been a few courses when I first went to Dubai, now they’re everywhere; same with Abu Dhabi and maybe eventually in Saudi Arabia.”

Woods will tee-up on the Albany course not only as host but as a former five-time tournament winner and also coming off a victory at the inaugural ZoZo Championship in Japan.



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