Considering the cash grab that was last year’s European Tour stop in Saudi Arabia was played in front of tiny galleries, dented the legacy of Chief Executive Keith Pelley and epitomized the worst imaginable appearance fee looks in modern sports, there was some hope players would say no to the loathsome Kingdom in 2020.
Dustin Johnson at least has the excuse he’s defending champion. Brooks Koepka, who plays for trophies and not for money, just can’t wait to soak up those Red Sea views, according to a quote someone wrote for him.
“I’m excited to be returning to Saudi Arabia, after an enjoyable visit last year,” Koepka said. “The golf course is one of the best I’ve played in the region, with incredible scenery, including some breathtaking views of the Red Sea.
“The event is an opportunity to showcase the work being done to grow the game of golf in the Kingdom, which was evidenced by the enthusiastic fans last year. It is great to be involved with the initiative and I look forward to seeing the progress Golf Saudi has made in the past year.”
Johnson’s quote also wheeled out the dreaded grow word.
“It’s great to see how Golf Saudi has strengthened its commitment to create a world-class golf event and plans to grow golf in the region are in full swing. It’s an honour to be a part of it.”
Why not just say something like, “the appearance fees are amazing, the Crown Prince’s money spends the same as any other direct deposit, and the event falls perfectly on my planned schedule”?