Tiger Woods 'snubs $2.5m offer to play Saudi tournament'

New Providence The Bahamas Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods on the 15th hole during the first round of the Hero World Challenge golf tournament at Albany. Mandatory Credit Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

No longer needing exemption Tiger Woods headlines Hero World Challenge field Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

He turned down a £2.5 million pay cheque that is seemingly the largest he has ever been offered for an official worldwide tournament.

Tiger Woods has reportedly refused to play in Saudi Arabia, which has come under fierce global criticism over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

But he said no to the Saudi International, according to the report.

Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau, a four-time victor in 2018 who partnered Woods in Paris, will all tee it up in the no-cut event, where former winners Hideki Matsuyama and Bubba Watson are also involved.

His withdrawal follows those of Western officials and executive who pulled out of a major investment conference held in Riyadh last month after the kingdom acknowledged that Khashoggi had been killed in its consulate in Istanbul.

There is a lot going on here, obviously, as Saudi Arabia has been in the news for all the wrong reasons of late due to the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Woods hasn't commented publicly on why he turned down the pay day, but he doesn't need the money, nor does he need the bad press.

He has travelled the world for worldwide 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.

Tennis superstar Roger Federer, a friend of Woods, recently revealed that he turned down a $1 million offer to play in an exhibition in Saudi Arabia in December.

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

"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". Fellow elite players Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic however accepted the invite.

For the first time in its history, the 2019 European Tour has scheduled events in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in what some have called the "desert swing".

"So we have looked at the viability of the golf tournament".

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