By Manasi Pathak
(Reuters) – England’s Paul Casey mentioned his need to be open-minded and Saudi Arabia’s dedication to utilizing sport as a medium for change made him enter the 2021 Saudi Worldwide after he skipped the final version as a result of issues over the nation’s human rights document.
The European Tour hosted its maiden occasion in Saudi Arabia final yr towards a backdrop of criticism over the selection of venue within the wake of the homicide of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the dominion’s human rights document.
Casey, a UNICEF ambassador, had informed British newspaper The Unbiased https://www.impartial.co.uk/sport/golf/paul-casey-interview-valspar-masters-saudi-arabia-leaderboard-score-watch-pga-tour-ryder-cup-a8794096.html that he could be a “hypocrite” if signed a deal to play in Saudi Arabia, whom human rights campaigners have accused of ‘sportswashing’ by utilizing occasions to create a optimistic picture.
“This is not a choice I’ve taken calmly. I wasn’t snug going previously, however I’ve all the time been open-minded and keen to study,” Casey informed Reuters on Friday.
“I imagine sport has the ability to have an effect on change. I’ve listened to the Saudi dedication to this and their imaginative and prescient for the longer term.”
Saudi Arabia hosted two skilled golf tournaments for girls for the primary time this month whilst ladies’s rights stay a contentious problem within the west Asian nation.
“They’ve efficiently hosted two skilled girls tournaments which exhibits that Golf Saudi have large plans not just for skilled golf, however extra so for grassroots and the following technology,” Casey added.
“It is all the time higher to incorporate quite than exclude when eliciting change… I hope my participation will make a distinction. I am wanting ahead to seeing these adjustments in individual.”
Casey can be joined by fellow European Ryder Cup members Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Tyrrell Hatton, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood and holder Graeme McDowell on the Royal Greens Golf & Nation Membership from Feb. 4-7.
The sphere additionally options Masters champion Dustin Johnson, U.S. Open winner Bryson DeChambeau, Open champion Shane Lowry, Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed.
The event presents world rating and Ryder Cup factors to European gamers who will look to seal a berth within the 2021 Ryder Cup workforce.
Europe’s qualification course of for the Ryder Cup was frozen when the biennial contest was postponed till September 2021, however will resume in January.
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Modifying by Nick Zieminski)