Confirmed: By England’s Paul Casey, that he will not play this week in the Saudi International, the European Tour’s debut in Saudi Arabia, citing concerns about the country’s human rights. Casey, 41, a 13-time winner on the European Tour, is a spokesman for UNICEF, a humanitarian-relief organization. The inaugural Saudi International will be played Jan. 31-Feb. 3 amid international criticism about the Oct. 2 assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident and frequent critic of the Saudi government. The killing has been linked to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Four of the world’s top five-ranked golfers – No. 1 Justin Rose of England and Americans No. 2 Brooks Koepka, No. 3 Dustin Johnson and No. 5 Bryson DeChambeau – remain committed to the Saudi International. It will be the third of six European Tour events to be played this season on the Arabian Peninsula (“Saudis turn to golf for cultural growth,” Jan. 24).
Debated: Among Golf Channel panelists Gary Williams, Matt Adams, Brandel Chamblee, Brian Bateman and Jaime Diaz on Sunday’s “Morning Drive” show, whether the European Tour should play the inaugural Saudi International event this week because of Saudi Arabia’s checkered history with human rights (video). The discussion occurred in the wake of an interview with Keith Pelley, the European Tour’s chief executive, earlier in the day (video).
Fired: About a dozen illegal-immigrant workers at Trump National Golf Club Westchester in New York, according to a report Saturday in The Washington Post. The fired workers, all of who were from Latin America, represent about half of the wintertime staff at the club in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., according to the report. Trump National Westchester is one of 16 golf clubs worldwide owned by President Donald Trump and being run by his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump while the elder Trump serves as president. The firings, on Jan. 18, came during the 35-day partial-government shutdown over Trump’s demand for financing for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.