Used to say no to the first two European Tour events in Saudi Arabia, but British golfer Paul Casey has changed his mind, will attend this tournament next year.

“I do not take the decision lightly. Before, it was true that I was not comfortable with it. However, I am open-minded and ready to learn. I believe sport has the power to change the situation. And I have listened to the Saudi government’s commitments and their vision for the future, “Casey said. Golf Channel on November 28. Days earlier, this golfer was on the list of stars attending Saudi International from 4 to 7/2/2021.

Casey said that Saudi Arabia had many positive changes, so decided to accept the European Tour event in this Arab country.  Photo: AP

Casey said that Saudi Arabia had many positive changes, so decided to accept the European Tour event in this Arab country. Image: AP

Since the opening of 2019, Casey has confirmed that he will not compete. He also cited that his cane bag has the name of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) sponsor, so it is natural to sit out. On the British newspaper Independent Later, Casey also said he would have a reputation for “dumb prince” if he received remuneration to play at Saudi International. But to the third prize, in 2021, he changed his opinion.

“When I see signs of change, I think it’s better to participate than to go out. And like that, I hope my presence will make a difference,” Casey further elaborated on the reason for hesitation. Three of the events carry a history of political tension. The British Golfer born in 1977 also reinforced the argument with three events in the Ladies European Tour women’s arena held in Saudi Arabia just this November. Casey thinks that is progress in a West Asian country that has long been criticized by the West for gender equality and human rights.

Casey has been playing golf professionally since 2000, and now owns three PGA Tour titles and 14 European Tour trophies. Although still holding a household registration in Surrey, England, Casey has settled in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA and has mainly played PGA Tour since 2015.

For European golfers, Saudi International is an opportunity for them to find tickets to the Ryder Cup 2021 through the world rankings. This European qualification process has been frozen since March this year by Covid-19 and will be reopened early next year. Casey has four Ryder Cup competitions in Europe, in which three times with the home team won the championship.

Saudi International 2021 brings together three champions in the traditional major quartet of Dustin Johnson (Masters), Bryson DeChambeau (US Open) and Shane Lowry (The Open Championship). The European star team at the tournament, besides Casey, also has six Ryder Cup players, including Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton and Henrik Stenson. These are the faces in the team that won the US in the 2018 match in France.

The event also recorded the presence of Phil Mickelson – the major winner of the 44 PGA Tour title collection, and Patrick Reed – the 2018 Masters champion.

Quoc Huy (according to Golf Channel)

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