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World No.2 Rory McIlroy has revealed that he turned down the chance to play in next month’s Saudi International.

The four-time major champion is believed to have been offered in the region of $2.5million just to take part in the $3.5million event in the Middle East.

However, he declined the offer, in part because of the Saudi regime’s human rights record.

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“It’s just not something that would excite me,” the 30-year-old told the Golf Channel. “There’s 100% a morality to it. You could say that about so many countries, not just Saudi Arabia, but a lot of countries that we play that there’s a reason not to go.

“But for me, I just don’t want to go.”

McIlroy joins Tiger Woods in turning down the Saudi event.


Phil Mickelson courted controversy last week when he dismissed criticism of his decision to accept the invite.

Mickelson, also rumoured to be getting paid in excess of $2million to turn up, said: “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.

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“I understand those who are upset or disappointed. You’ll be OK. I’m excited to experience this for the first time.”

Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnston, Sergio Garcia and Patrick Reed are amongst the others to be taking part.

It has been reported that the organisers of the tournament are paying more than $14million in appearance fees.

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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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