European Tour Chief Keith Pelley insists the Tour’s new tournament in Saudi Arabia will take place as scheduled next year, despite public outcry following the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“I’ll be very, very clear,” Pelley said. “I’ve had very little, in fact, no dialogue with partners, with our own government, with the Saudi Arabian Golf Federation or anybody from Saudi Arabia. Saudi International is on our schedule and we’ll continue to monitor just like we would do with every other country.”
Pelley was asked numerous questions about the Saudi International, scheduled for Jan. 31-Feb. 3 of next year, while meeting with reporters Saturday morning at the Turkish Airlines Open. Pelley repeatedly stated the event is on schedule, and added that he hasn’t talked with any of the players about the tournament over the past three weeks.
Turkish officials say Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
“We have heard some of the criticism of the region,” Pelley said. “Obviously freedom of speech is far more available now based on social media. We’ve heard. We’ve listened and we will continue to monitor the situation.”
The European Tour will host additional events in the Middle East in Abu Dhabi, Oman, Qatar and Dubai, site of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in two weeks.
“There is no question the region and the Middle East with the DP World coming up is very important to the European Tour,” Pelley said.