Former British Open champion Shane Lowry has said he has no qualms about playing next month in Saudi Arabia, which has come under international scrutiny for its human rights record, and that ‘he’s just trying to make a living.
The Irishman is one of a group of confirmed golfers for the Saudi international, which is sponsored by the Saudi public investment fund and comes with lucrative appearance fees for some, leading many to call him nothing more than a seizure of money.
“Look, obviously there’s nothing to hide from the people who write about this tournament or what they say about we’re going to play, but at the end of the day for me I’m not a politician, I’m a professional golfer, ”Lowry said Tuesday.
“I make a living for myself and my family and I try to take care of them, and that’s only part of that, and I have to go.”
The Saudi International February 3-6, which runs concurrently with the PGA Tour’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am, has been part of the European Tour for the past three years, but is now a flagship event of the Asian Tour.
For this reason, players have had to seek out PGA Tour and European Tour outings, in order to compete next month at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club.
A number of players have committed over several years to the event, including Lowry who accepted a three-year contract after winning the 2019 British Open at Royal Portrush.
“Yes, obviously it’s not a European Tour event now, it’s an Asian Tour event, but I have a contract to play, and I see no reason why or I doubt that I do. would not have been released or would not be allowed to go play. I’m happy to be able to go play, “Lowry said.
“Like I said, I had very pleasant experiences there and I can’t wait to go back.”
The tournament has sparked controversy since its inception in 2019, with some calling it the Saudi government’s way of ‘washing through sport’ a controversial human rights record, but for Lowry, that’s not its case.
“I’m happy to go. I’m happy to make a living going there and playing good golf and hoping to win a tournament,” said Lowry.
“I think for me as a golfer I’m not a politician, I’ll let everyone take care of it and do my job.”