Key Words: Tiger Woods defends rival Phil Mickleson’s controversial $3-million decision to play in Saudi Arabia

This post was originally published on this site

‘I understand the politics behind it. But also the game of golf can help heal a lot of that, too.’

That is Tiger Woods’s response to Phil Mickelson’s decision to play in a golf tournament in Saudi Arabia next month.

Woods declined to attend the event for a second year in a row, despite a $3-million appearance fee of his own. But his stance apparently had nothing to do with politics. “I just didn’t want to go over there,” he told ESPN. “It’s a long way.”

Mickelson has been under fire for agreeing to play in a country where just more than a year ago journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered. The Washington Post columnist and U.S. resident was killed and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul back in October of 2018 on orders from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a CIA and Senate panel.

Mickelson, not one to shy away, addressed the mounting backlash on Twitter TWTR, +0.50% with snarky rebuttals about his first trip to Saudi Arabia:

Mickelson will be joined in the Kingdom by several other high-profile golfers, like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau.