Paul Casey on playing Saudi event: 'I hope my participation will make a difference'

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After skipping the first two years of the Saudi International, Paul Casey was among a group of players who have committed to play next year’s European Tour stop in the Middle East.

Casey didn’t join many Europeans at the inaugural event in 2019, citing his association with UNICEF, which is on his golf bag, and Saudi Arabia’s questionable human rights record.

“This is not a decision I’ve taken lightly. I wasn’t comfortable going in the past, but I have always been open minded and willing to learn,” Casey said in a statement. “I believe sport has the power to affect change. I’ve listened to the Saudi’s commitment to this and their vision for the future.”

Casey referenced the Ladies European Tour event that was held in Saudi Arabia this year and the country’s commitment to grow the game.

“It is always better to include rather than exclude when eliciting change, thus I hope my participation will make a difference and I am looking forward to seeing these changes in person,” Casey said.

Casey will join Masters champion Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and Henrik Stenson at next year’s event, which will be played Feb. 4-7.