Phil Mickelson’s decision to play in the Saudi International in late January brings golf and politics together in an uncomfortable way.
Mickelson announced this week he will play the European Tour event rather than make his usual stop at the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, joining a handful of the game’s top stars in Saudi Arabia despite the country’s human-rights issues.
Mickelson isn’t alone. Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau, Patrick Reed and others have committed to playing in the event, which is part of the European Tour’s annual swing through the Middle East.
Should they matter to professional golfers?
Or do appearance fees and contract incentives matter more?
In responding on Twitter to criticism, Mickelson posted, “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 fir...
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