Reported: That Tiger Woods has turned down a £2.5 million (about $3.26 million) offer to play in the European Tour’s inaugural tournament in Saudi Arabia next year, according to James Corrigan of The Telegraph newspaper in London. The Saudi government is under intense international scrutiny because of the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who reportedly was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The European Tour, in turn, faces criticism for going ahead with the Saudi International, to be played Jan. 31-Feb. 3 (“Pelley’s Saudi sand trap: Cancel or play?” Nov. 1). Woods, a 14-time major champion, surged back among golf’s elite during the past season after back surgery last year. Over the years, he has traveled to Turkey, Abu Dhabi, China and elsewhere, reportedly for seven-figure appearance fees. The PGA Tour does not permit players to be paid appearance fees, although sponsors frequently circumvent the rule by title-sponsoring tournaments and signing players to endorsement deals, with an agreement that the paid spokesmen will play those events.
Revealed: Sixteen of the 18-man invitees for the Hero World Challenge, according to tournament host Tiger Woods’ website. The 72-hole tournament, an unofficial event on the PGA Tour that nonetheless awards world-ranking points, will be played Nov. 29-Dec. 2 at Albany in the Bahamas. The field (with Official World Golf Ranking): Justin Rose (1), Dustin Johnson (3), Justin Thomas (4), Bryson DeChambeau (5), Jon Rahm (8), Rickie Fowler (9), Tommy Fleetwood (10), Jason Day (11), Xander Schauffele (12), Tiger Woods (13), Tony Finau (15), Bubba Watson (16), Patrick Reed (17), Webb Simpson (20), Alex Noren (21), Hideki Matsuyama (23). Among the top 10, only No. 2 Brooks Koepka, No. 6 Rory McIlroy and No. 7 Francesco Molinari were not entered. Two special exemptions remain to be awarded.