Casey Skipping Saudi Event For Humanitarian Reasons

Despite a top-heavy field and a reported near-$400,000 appearance fee, PGA Tour pro Paul Casey has announced that he officially will not be playing in next week’s Saudi International event in Saudi Arabia.

Citing his allegiance as a Unicef ambassador, Casey announced on social media on Saturday that he will not be teeing it up alongside the likes of Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed and others.

“There were a lot of questions,” Casey told The Telegraph. “Do I want to go to Saudi? That was the main question. There are a lot of places in the world that I have played and continue to go, which you could question some human rights violations that governments have committed. I thought I’d sit this one out.”

Casey doubled down on social media, writing, “As I continue to face questions about my participation I feel it is important to clarify that I will not be playing in next weeks Saudi International event. Plus contrary to reports I had also never signed a contract to play. I hope this addresses any confusion. Thank you.”

According to The Telegraph report, Casey will be foregoing a  £300,000, or $395,000, appearance fee for simply teeing it up.

The controversy that surrounds the kingdom — largely as a result of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi Arabia embassy in Istanbul in October — has resulted in the canceling of a Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic £2 million exhibition match last month. 

Tiger Woods turned down what is believed to be the largest appearance fee ever, $3.2 million, to play in the event.