The Saudi-backed Super Golf League has been sparking all sorts of controversy this week.
Ahead of the weekend's Saudi International in Jeddah, players who have committed to the competition are being grilled on whether they'll sign on to the new lucrative Saudi tour.
It would seem to go hand in hand that some of the players willing to play in Saudi Arabia could feature in the Super Golf League. One of those rumoured is Lee Westwood.
The 25-time European Tour event winner remained silent on whether he will have any involvement in it or not, citing a non-disclosure agreement signed before this week.
It speaks volumes that Westwood declined to comment on his commitment to the event. It could be as a result of having made a prior agreement with the tour.
The country has come under fire for buying up events in multiple sports, despite being in clear violation of human rights on issues such as unlawful deaths, detentions, and freedom of speech.
— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) September 24, 2021
On Monday, reports emerged that Ian Poulter was offered over €26 million to partake in the new Saudi league and as they attempt to poach players from the PGA and DP World Tours.
As a result of a player's involvement, a lifetime ban would be issued to those who make the jump from both tours. This would also affect any involvement in future Ryder Cups.
There are also reports that Henrik Stenson has been approached. Poulter and Stenson could be two names involved in captaincy roles in Ryder Cups going forward.
In May of last year, Westwood did comment on a potential move to the Saudi circuit. "If someone stood here and offered me 50 million quid to play golf when I’m 48, it’s a no-brainer."
But this week things were very different. "I don't know whether I want to answer questions on that. I've signed an NDA," Westwood told the media in Saudi Arabia.
A reporter asked him what he thought of the proposed format of the Super Golf League. Westwood responded. "It's a little bit different from the 72-hole strokeplay norm."
"I think golf has got to move with the times and become more heat-of-the-moment, volatile and impactful right from the word go. Certainly if you do it like the team aspect, there's more action happening in more different places."
There are several big names in the field for this week's event in King Abdullah Economic City. The likes of Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, and Phil Mickelson to name a few.
Two-time Open Championship winner Greg Norman is spearheading the new tour. His Liv Gold investments company is heavily involved in the promotion.
"The journey, this is not a one-off. You want to sit back and see the evolution and how this is all building out, it's going to be an incredible one," Norman said this week.