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Justin Rose warns players ‘running a risk’ joining Saudi-backed Invitational Series

Justin Rose warns players ‘running a risk’ joining Saudi-backed Invitational Series
English golfer Rose has confirmed he will not play in the LIV Golf International Series

Justin Rose has warned his fellow golfers about the risk of trying to play in the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series as well as the other established tours.

Several players have already requested releases from both the DP World Tour and PGA Tour in order to play in the opening tournament at the Centurion Club at the beginning of June – the first of eight scheduled events this year.

Rose has confirmed he will not be taking part in any of the events in 2022. But the 41-year-old also does not judge any of the players who are taking up the opportunity.

The former world number one told Sky Sports: “I am not (going to play in the LIV Golf Invitational series), not this season, not in the foreseeable future.

“I am curious, as everyone is, to see how this plays out and I don’t think any less (of the players hoping to play). I have no judgment on that. I have played golf in Saudi Arabia.

“You have to make decisions that are right for you. You are a professional golfer, it’s your job. If there is an opportunity and it is valid, then it is an avenue that should be open and available to you.”

He was then quizzed on whether it was a risk for players to try and feature in both the Saudi-supported league and the other tours.

To which he replied: “That is the eternal question no one knows the answer to. This is the risk those guys are running at the moment by accepting the opportunity to play. We don’t know how the tours are going to react or the legal ramifications.

“My goals are still the major championships. I am still trying to create my own history within the game of golf. I am not ready to just play golf for money, for example.

“I have other goals and other dreams and they are to play in big championships and win big championships. I will do everything right now to protect that.”

Golfers have been widely criticised for their decision to play in the events due to Saudi Arabia’s poor human rights record.

Earlier this week, Lee Westwood became the latest player to issue a request to be released from the DP World and PGA tours.

Justifying his decision, he said: “We’ve played European Tour in Saudi Arabia and I’ve had releases from the PGA Tour to say I can play in Saudi Arabia, so it has been no problem to them in previous years.

“Formula One raced there. Newcastle United are owned partly by people from Saudi Arabia. There has been boxing there and I think there has been snooker and darts there as well.

“Golf’s not the first sport to have links with Saudi Arabia, but it seems to be coming under more scrutiny than anyone else. Whether you think that’s right or not is the individual’s opinion.

“I think Saudi Arabia obviously know they’ve got issues. I think lots of countries around the world have got issues and I think they’re trying to improve. They’re trying to do it through sport, which a lot of places, a lot of countries do.

“I think they’re doing it a lot quicker than some countries have tried to do it and that maybe worries or scares people. People don’t like change do they, they like continuity and things to stay the same.”