SAN DIEGO – Justin Rose didn’t have much time to celebrate his victory on Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open with a flight waiting to take him to Saudi Arabia via London for next week’s Saudi International on the European Tour.
Rose, who said he would arrive in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday morning, said the event fit perfectly into his schedule with three weeks off looming after the first-year event to recover from the travel.
Rose – who will be joined in the field in Saudi Arabia by Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, assuring the event the world’s top three players – was also asked about the potential political fallout of playing the Saudi International.
“I’m not a politician, I’m a pro golfer,” Rose said. “There’s other reasons to go play it. It’s a good field, there’s going to be a lot of world ranking points to play for, by all accounts it’s a good golf course and it will be an experience to experience Saudi Arabia.”
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Last week Paul Casey, a UNICEF ambassador, tweeted a response to mounting questions over his potential participation in the Saudi International.
“I feel it is important to clarify that I will not be playing in next week’s Saudi International. Plus, contrary to reports I had also never signed a contract to play,” Casey tweeted along with the hashtag #unicefgoodwillambasador.
The European Tour has come under scrutiny since announcing the addition of the Saudi event to its schedule following the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. According to reports, a CIA assessment claims that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing. Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the crown prince, was killed in October.