Bryson DeChambeau: ‘What Saudi Arabia and the European Tour are doing is amazing’

Tom Kershaw
The Independent

Against a backdrop of blue skies and palm trees, Bryson DeChambeau brushed away scrutiny over the European Tour‘s first event in Saudi Arabia, instead hailing the country’s “amazing” initiative.

DeChambeau is amongst a crop of top players who have received seven-figure appearance fees to attend the event, which has been widely dismissed as another episode in Saudi Arabia’s sporting slew of propaganda.

And on suitable cue, after finishing with a two-under-par 68, DeChambeau gleefully extolled of the country’s virtues.

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“What the European Tour is doing for the game of golf is beyond my expectations, I think a lot of other people’s expectations as well,” DeChambeau said.

“They’re growing the game internationally and especially in a place like Saudi Arabia, it’s fantastic to see the world opening up a little bit to them.

“They’re showing us, ‘Hey, we’re a place just as beautiful as the rest of the world’, so I think it’s amazing what Saudi Arabia and the European Tour are doing.”

DeChambeau’s double-down comes on the back of world No 1 Justin Rose facing backlash for defending his participation by saying “he’s not a politician”, after former PGA Tour winner Brandel Chamblee claimed the field were “ventriloquists for a reprehensible regime”.

The event takes place four months after Saudi Arabian agents were accused by the CIA of murdering Jamal Khashoggi and dissolving his body in acid in Istanbul.

However, Eddie Pepperell rightly noted that being put in a conundrum of having to choose between career and conscience is nothing new for the Tour’s players, with events staged in Qatar – where homosexuality is illegal and hundreds of thousands of migrant workers are allegedly being exploited – for the last 20 years.

Eddie Pepperell has defended his participation in the event (Getty)
Eddie Pepperell has defended his participation in the event (Getty)

“The problem with taking a moral approach to us playing in Saudi Arabia this week is that it would lay bare many contradictions of the past,” Pepperell wrote on his online blog.

“Like, for example, why do we play in China? Or Qatar? Or Turkey? Depending on your time scale, you could argue that every country on earth has at some point exemplified the worst that human beings have to offer.”

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