McIlroy On Turning Down Saudi International: "I Just Don't Want To Go"

The four-time Major winner has reportedly turned down $2.5m to tee it up in Saudi

McIlroy On Turning Down Saudi International
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The four-time Major winner has reportedly turned down just shy of £2m to tee it up in Saudi

McIlroy On Turning Down Saudi International: "I Just Don't Want To Go"

Rory McIlroy has explained his reasoning behind turning down a huge pay cheque to compete at the 2020 Saudi International.

The European Tour event, in its second year, takes place at the end of January and McIlroy is reported to have been offered $2.5m just to tee it up.

The four-time Major winner, whilst speaking to the Golf Channel, said that the event doesn't excite him, partly due to not having "big golf fans" on site to play in front of.

“It’s just not something that would excite me," the 30-year-old said.

“You could say that about so many countries, not just Saudi Arabia, but a lot of countries that we play in that there’s a reason not to go, but for me, I just don’t want to go.

"One hundred percent, there’s a morality to it as well.

"I think the atmosphere looks better at the events on the west coast [USA] and I’d much rather play in front of big golf fans and play in a tournament that really excites me.”

Related: McIlroy defends Patrick Reed over Hero World Challenge penalty criticism

Rory committed to the PGA Tour at the start of this year and will likely be doing the same again in 2020 by the sound of it.

He played in the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii at the start of this year before heading to Torrey Pines and Riviera in California for the Farmers Insurance Open and Genesis Open.

The 2019 FedEx Cup champion and PGA Tour Player of the Year isn't the only one to skip the Saudi International, as Tiger Woods has also turned down a huge appearance fee.

Woods' fee was reported to be around the £2.5-£3m mark, with the 15-time Major winner saying, "“I just don’t want to go over there."

Not everybody said no to the tournament though, as Phil Mickelson has committed along with defending champion Dustin Johnson and World No.1 Brooks Koepka.

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Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV