McIlroy not interested in Saudi International

By Sports Desk December 10, 2019

Rory McIlroy will not compete in the Saudi International, with the world number two confirming there is a moral factor to his decision.

Dustin Johnson - who won the inaugural Saudi International this year - Phil Mickelson and world number one Brooks Koepka have been confirmed for the European Tour event, which runs from January 30 to February 2 in King Abdullah Economic City.

However, four-time major winner McIlroy will not be taking part, with the Northern Irishman stating playing in Saudi Arabia is not something that interests him.

McIlroy, who has been joined by current Masters champion Tiger Woods in deciding not to feature in Saudi Arabia, also added he would rather focus on playing in front of large crowds on the PGA Tour early in 2020.

"It's just not something that would excite me," he told Golf Channel's Morning Drive show. "One-hundred per cent, there's a morality to it as well.

"You could say that about so many countries, not just Saudi Arabia, but a lot of countries that we play in that there's a reason not to go, but for me, I just don't want to go.

"I think the atmosphere looks better at the events on the west coast [of America] and I'd much rather play in front of big golf fans and play in a tournament that really excites me."

Saudi Arabia's regime have been attempting to bring more big sporting events to the country in recent years, and on Saturday it hosted Anthony Joshua's heavyweight title rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr in Diriyah, on the outskirts of Riyadh.

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