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Tiger Woods reportedly turned down $3M-plus Saudi payday amid turmoil

Tiger Woods reportedly turned down $3M-plus Saudi payday amid turmoil

Tiger Woods has turned down the largest overseas golf tournament payday of his career, The Telegraph reports.

Woods was offered £2.5 million, which converts to more than $3 million, to play in the European Tour’s inaugural event in Saudi Arabia next year. He said no to the Saudi International, according to the report.

Saudi Arabia embroiled in turmoil after murder of journalist

The event is sponsored by the Saudi government, which is under international scrutiny since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the country’s consulate in Istanbul. 

Turkish officials concluded that Saudi agents awaited Khashoggi and killed him inside the consulate, removing his head and fingers in the process. Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was a frequent critic of Saudi leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

No word from Woods on Saudi tournament

Woods has not spoken publicly about his reported decision, and there was nothing in The Telegraph report addressing why he turned down the tournament.

He has traveled the world for international paydays in the past, but it’s not unreasonable to conclude that he wants to limit these kinds of events as he gets older and focuses on winning major titles.

The tournament is scheduled a week after the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines near San Diego, a tournament that’s a regular part of his schedule

But there’s no denying that the tournament presents a public relations minefield.

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Tiger Woods' girlfriend Erica Herman

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ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23: Tiger Woods, winner of the TOUR Championship with his girlfriend, Erica Herman after the final round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 23, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23: Tiger Woods and his girlfriend Erica Herman celebrate after the final round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 23, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23: Tiger Woods and his girlfriend Erica Herman celebrate after the final round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 23, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23: Tiger Woods and his girlfriend Erica Herman celebrate after the final round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 23, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

POTOMAC, MD - JULY 01: Tiger Woods looks on with Erica Herman on the 18th green during the final round of the Quicken Loans National at TPC Potomac on July 1, 2018 in Potomac, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

December 3, 2017; New Providence, The Bahamas; Sam Woods (daughter of Tiger Woods, far left), Charlie Woods (Woods' son, second from left), Erica Herman (third from left), and professional tennis player Rafael Nadal (second from right) stand on the third hole during the final round of the Hero World Challenge golf tournament at Albany. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

December 2, 2017; New Providence, The Bahamas; Erica Herman (left), Sam Woods (daughter of Tiger Woods, center), and Charlie Woods (Woods' son, right) walk on the first hole during the third round of the Hero World Challenge golf tournament at Albany. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

December 2, 2017; New Providence, The Bahamas; Sam Woods (daughter of Tiger Woods, fourth from right) and Charlie Woods (Woods' son, third from right), Erica Herman (far right) watch Tiger Woods (far left) on the third hole during the third round of the Hero World Challenge golf tournament at Albany. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

JERSEY CITY, NJ - OCTOBER 01: (L-R) Erica Herman, Captain's Assistant Tiger Woods and Notah Begay watch Daniel Berger of the U.S. Team putt on the 15th hole green during Sunday Singles matches at the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on October 1, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR)

JERSEY CITY, NJ - OCTOBER 01: Tiger Woods one of the United States team assistant captain's on the first hole with Erica Herman during the final day singles matches matches in the 2017 Presidents Cup at the Liberty National Golf Club on October 1, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

JERSEY CITY, NJ - OCTOBER 01: Tiger Woods with girlfriend Erica Herman after the Presidents Cup on October 1, 2017, at Liberty National Golf Clubin Jersey City NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

JERSEY CITY, NJ - OCTOBER 01: Captain's assistant Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team and Erica Herman look on during Sunday singles matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on October 1, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

JERSEY CITY, NJ - OCTOBER 01: Captain's assistant Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team and Erica Herman walk on the first hole during Sunday singles matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on October 1, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 30: Captain's assistant Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team and Erica Herman look on during Saturday four-ball matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 30, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 30: Captain's assistant Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team and Erica Herman look on during Saturday four-ball matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 30, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 30: Captain's assistant Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team and Erica Herman look on during Saturday four-ball matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 30, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 30: Erica Herman walks during Saturday foursome matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 30, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 29: Captain's assistant Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team and Erica Herman look on during Friday four-ball matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 29, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 29: Tiger Woods (R), Captains Assistant of the U.S. Team, and girlfriend Erica Herman (C) sit together during the second round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 29, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Scott Halleran/PGA TOUR)

JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 29: Daniel Berger of the U.S. Team, Captain's assistant Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team and Erica Herman walk during Friday four-ball matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 29, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 29: Tiger Woods (L), Captains Assistant of the U.S. Team, and girlfriend Erica Herman (R) talk together during the second round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 29, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Scott Halleran/PGA TOUR)

JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Captain's assistant Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team walks with Erica Herman during Thursday foursome matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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Prominent athletes, entertainers pull out of Saudi Arabia

Athletes and entertainers have pulled out of recent events in Saudi Arabia amid backlash against the country’s government.

Professional wrestling star John Cena did not participate in a WWE showcase event last week that was arranged in coordination with the Saudi Arabian government.

Roger Federer turned down an invitation to play a tennis match in Saudi Arabia in December.

“I prefer not to play,” Federer told reporters. “I’m happy practicing. I’m happy doing other things, and I didn’t want to play there at that time. So, for me, it was a very quick decision.”

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are scheduled to participate in the exhibition.

European Tour defends hosting Saudi tournament

European Tour director Keith Pelley recently addressed concerns over hosting the tournament in Saudi Arabia with reporters.

“Like many global companies we monitor situations like this,” Pelley said, per Golf Digest. “So we have looked at the viability of the golf tournament. I can simply say that the Saudi International is on our schedule for 2019. I really have nothing more to add than that. The Middle East is very important to the European Tour.”

The tournament is scheduled to take place from Jan. 31-Feb. 3.

Tiger Woods reportedly turned down $3M-plus Saudi payday amid turmoil

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