Rory McIlroy, a professional golfer from Northern Ireland has turned down the offer to play in Saudi Arabia next year. The decision came amidst international outcry of major sports events being organised in the country. McIlroy was reportedly offered a whopping amount of $2.5 million to play in Saudi Arabia.
After McIlroy rejected the offer to play in Saudi Arabia, the organisers went to five-time major champion Phil Mickelson, who agreed to visit the country for a similar fee that was offered to McIlroy. A close aide of world No. 2 McIlroy has said that it doesn't matter what they (Saudi organisers) had offered, Rory was going to deny the offer anyway.
The outcry took a flight after the European Tour added Saudi International to its schedule despite facing criticism. The outcry was in response to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was living in the United States at the time. Jamal Khashoggi was reportedly killed by a death squad inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Jamal Khashoggi was a staunch critic of the Saudi government and its oppressive policies.
McIlroy has played in countries like China and the United Arab Emirates but he feels that a trip to Saudi Arabia will be an excursion too far. McIlroy decided to not go to the oil-rich nation because of political reasons. American golfer Tiger Woods has said that he was offered $3.5 million to appear in Saudi Arabia but he rejected the offer.
Woods, however, has defended Phil Mickelson and other top players who have decided to play in the second edition of Saudi International. Mickelson has defended his decision to go to the country of Mecca-Medina and is reportedly excited to play in the nation he has never visited before. Michelson is excited to experience Saudi Arabia for the first time.