Tiger Woods turned down a large appearance fee to play in the European Tour’s inaugural event in Saudi Arabia in 2019, according to a report from James Corrigan of The Telegraph.
According to the report, Woods was offered roughly $3.275 million, a sum that’s believed to be more than anything he’s ever garnered for an official overseas event.
Players have long received enticing appearance fees to go across the pond — Woods’s price has reportedly been around $2-3 million — but Woods hasn’t played an overseas event (excluding the 2018 British Open) since he withdrew from the Dubai Desert Classic after one round in 2017. His fourth back surgery came months later.
Woods has hinted since his fusion back surgery that his trips overseas might be limited, but a trip to Saudi Arabia could bring about more issues than just a lengthily flight for a 42-year-old with a bad back. Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Istanbul last month, which has had international political ramifications.
“Saudi International is on our schedule and we’ll continue to monitor just like we would do with every other country,” said Keith Pelley, the European Tour’s chief executive. “We have heard some of the criticism of the region. Obviously freedom of speech is far more available now based on social media. We’ve listened and we will continue to monitor the situation.”
It’s unknown if Woods’s decision to decline the event is political or strictly due to scheduling. His agent, Mark Steinberg, has yet to respond to GOLF.com’s request to comment on the report.