Tour pro urges Saudi stars to donate cash to charity

Saudi International

Players who agree to join a Saudi-backed Super League should donate their huge appearance fees to feed children in Yemen, one tour pro has claimed. 

Many of the game’s biggest names are understood to be on the verge of leaving the main tours for the new venture, with Phil Mickelson publicly confirming an approach had been made while Lee Westwood revealed he had signed a non-disclosure agreement. 

Bryson DeChambeau is believed to have been offered $240 million to be the face of the league, with those who do join facing lifetime bans from the PGA and DP World tours as well as the Ryder Cup. 

However, the vast sums on offer have attracted strong criticism, and players have been branded “greedy” and “out of touch” - with Mickelson coming in for particular criticism after an astonishing broadside in the direction of the PGA Tour. 

• DeChambeau "will join Saudi Golf League"

Concerns have also been raised over the morality of the new competition amid accusations of sportswashing, the act of using elite sport to improve one’s reputation. 

Saudi Arabia is considered to be responsible for the current war and resulting humanitarian crisis in Yemen, which Unicef claims is the “worst in history” with 12 million children in need of food, water and medicine. 

The Saudi government’s public investment fund is the principal backer of the Super League.

Now DP World Tour pro Mike Lorenzo-Vera has spoken out, urging his fellow players to donate their fees to charity and “come back to earth”. 

"I was in the players’ lounge at Ras Al Khaimah during the tournament and the BBC was on TV,” he explained in a post on Instagram.  

“There was a documentary about what’s going on in Yemen and there were plenty of kids dying through lack of food. 

• Tour pro makes huge Saudi Golf League claims

“This is just insane, the situation there. I am no war journalist and I don’t understand everything, but the thing I did understand was that Saudi is involved. 

“Maybe I don’t understand everything but as we say in France, there is no smoke without fire. I would like to speak to the guys who sign for the league in that message. 

“Maybe they could use that money, not all of it but a good amount of that, to give to charity for the kids in Yemen to bring some food to them. That could be pretty interesting. I would do it, that is for sure.” 

Mike Lorenzo Vera

Lorenzo-Vera, who has been on tour since 2005, backed pro-turned-pundit Andrew Coltart, who last week slammed those making the move. 

“I know I’m not in the situation and it can sound jealous or whatever, but I think sometime we need to come back to Earth a bit,” he added.  

“I’ve seen the comments of Andrew Coltart and I think he is 100% right. Sometimes we lose reality. I have done the same sometimes. 

• 'Tone deaf': Former tour pro blasts Saudi stars

“I have played twice in Saudi, and the more time passes the more I feel uncomfortable with it. 

“We need to remember where we come from sometimes. The European Tour and the PGA Tour have been here for us and we can thank them. I think to go away from them just for money feels a bit strange. That money feels even more strange. 

“I respect a lot of the players that you guys are and I wish I had the same career. Good luck to you guys and I hope we all come back to Earth one day.” 

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