It has been revealed that the PGA Tour will prohibit its players from playing in the Saudi International event next year.
In an exclusive report from Golfweek, the PGA Tour has confirmed that it will not be granting event releases, otherwise seen as permission to compete in non-PGA Tour events, to its players for the Saudi International.
According to the same report, the European Tour will no longer sanction the event and will be taking a similar approach towards its members as the PGA Tour.
The event has been sanctioned by the European Tour for three consecutive years, with Dustin Johnson winning twice.
Asked to confirm the report, a PGA Tour spokesperson told Golfweek: “You are correct. This follows a PGA Tour longstanding policy of not granting releases to unsanctioned events.”
The tournament has been hosted against a backdrop of controversy since it was first held in 2019.
Players have been paid appearance fees to play in the tournament, while many have suggested that the tournament has been an attempt from the Saudi Riyadh regime to sportswash its human rights record.
The move from the PGA Tour is just the latest in a long-standing battle between the tour and Saudi stakeholders who are keen to introduce a Premier Golf League by January 2023.
“There is lots of rumour and speculation floating about as it relates to the tour’s position on the 2022 Saudi International,” Dustin Johnson’s manager, David Winkle told Golfweek. ”It would be premature for me to comment on it, given that we have not yet applied for a release from the tour.
“However, given that Dustin has played in the event the past three years and would be returning as their defending champion, I have no doubt he would be quite disappointed if the tour potentially denied his release.”