Dustin Johnson and Seven Other Golfers Place a Controversial Request to the PGA Tour

Published 10/23/2021, 12:24 PM EDT
Aug 28, 2021; Owings Mills, Maryland, USA; Dustin Johnson looks on from the first green during the third round of the BMW Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports


The Saudi International has made headlines yet again regarding a controversial stand taken against it. Most recently, there has been news that eight professional golfers have asked permission from the PGA tour to play at the event scheduled in February next year.

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Introduced in 2019, the Saudi International was originally a part of the European Tour. However, after attracting heavy criticism due to government intervention and their poor history with human rights, the European Tour dropped it from its schedule. However, in a ten-year partnership, it is now a part of the Asian Tour.

Tommy Fleetwood

In addition, the Super Golf League was viewed as a major rival to the two tours. Hence, both banned their players from competing in future editions. So if they’re banned, what exactly has happened?

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Who are the PGA Tour players who want to play the Saudi International?

Jay Monahan, PGA tour commissioner, has declared that any member to violate this rule will face a life-time ban. In its lieu, several top players like Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy have rejected the Saudi offers.

Golf – Alfred Dunhill Links Championship – St. Andrews, Scotland – 4/10/15
Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell tees off on the second during the final round
Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Jason Cairnduff
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The PGA Tour players need to seek official permission in order to play on other tours. As revealed by Golfweek, a decision on waiver requests is not required until 30 days of the start of a competition.

The $5 million purse Saudi International is to be held from 3rd-6th February at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City. Hence, golfers will not be intimated until almost the 4th of January.

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Among the eight golfers who have sought permission is two-time champion and world number 2 Dustin Johnson. Moreover, Graeme McDowell, winner of the 2020 edition, is also one of the eight. The other are- Jason Kokrak, Kevin Na, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, and Abraham Ancer, all top golfers.

“We have requested a release and don’t know when we’ll hear back, but I have heard verbally that the Tour is still taking everything under consideration,” revealed David Winkle, Dustin Johnson’s agent. She also said, “It’s a complex issue for the Tour. Dustin has gone over three years and gone 1st, 2nd, 1st; put golf on the map in a new part of the world. He’s earned the right to defend his title.”

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Well, what do you think should be done?

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Ishita Bhargava

270 articles

Ishita Bhargava is a Golf content writer at Essentially Sports. Currently pursuing her undergraduate degree from the Shri Ram College of Commerce, she has a keen interest in sports and fitness. When not playing or watching a sports event, Ishita can be seen spending time with her pets or binge-watching.

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