Paul Casey: Englishman Defends Saudi International U-turn

Posted by on February 02, 2021  /   Posted in golf reviews

Casey took his best finish in a major in 2020 and came second in the US PGA Championship

Paul Casey has defended his decision to play in this week's Saudi International by saying he had falsely withdrawn from the inaugural tournament two years ago.

The Englishman missed the event in 2019, saying he would be a "hypocrite" to play in the country over concerns about the human rights record.

"The position I had two years ago was probably not the right one," said Casey, who is a Unicef ​​ambassador.

"I have ties with Unicef ​​and I didn't think it was right for me to play."

However, Casey says that he has "learned a lot" over the past two years. “One of the things I was completely wrong with was with my Unicef ​​ties because they are not a political organization,” he added.

"Their focus is purely on caring for the vulnerability of children around the world and doing everything they can to save them.

"I was reminded that if you stay away, you don't participate, don't talk and don't come to visit, you're just strengthening the position and that's no use. "

Casey, who won his 15th European Tour title in Dubai joins a field with world number one and reigning Masters champion Dustin Johnson and US Open winner Bryson DeChambeau at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club.

Formula 1 is scheduled for its maiden Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia later this year. The sport follows golf, tennis, horse racing and boxing on its way to the Arab kingdom.

The Saudis have been accused by human rights organizations of using sport to bury their human rights situation.

But Casey continued: "If you mention the rights of children, there is no country on the planet that fulfills all the rights of a child, so the only thing you can hope for is that a country is on its way to earning as many of those rights as possible nt.

"There's such a thing as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and this country has signed up for it, and is making progress to tick off as much as possible, and that's all I'm on can hope.

"I felt that if my participation can help with that progress, and that can make a iota difference, then that's something important."

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