Tiger Woods has reportedly refused to play in Saudi Arabia, which has come under fierce international criticism over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
According to a Telegraph report, the 14-time major-winner turned down a bumper pay cheque - $2.5 million, believed to be his biggest overseas fee - to play in the European Tour's inaugural event hosted in the kingdom next year.
Sources told the British daily he was first approached in the summer, following a competitive comeback.
Fellow golf stars Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed and Paul Casey had already been signed up to play in the Saudi government-sponsored event.
However Riyadh's world standing has been tainted since then, following the murder of Washington Post journalist Khashoggi inside the Istanbul consulate in October.
Tennis champion Roger Federer recently revealed he had refused a $1m offer to play an exhibition match in Jeddah next month, which players Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are still set to attend.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) decided to go ahead with a Riyadh event last week, prompting some fans to accuse it of accepting "Saudi blood money".
While it is not clear why Woods has pulled out from the tournament, Telegraph sources speculate it could be over the bad press such an appearance would have attracted given the backlash over Khashoggi's killing.
According to Turkish officials, Khashoggi was killed, dismembered and had his remains dissolved in acid following an assassination order from high-ranking Saudi leaders, namely defacto leader Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Riyadh has insisted it was the work of "rogue agents".
Amid the outrage, a major investment conference in Saudi Arabia held in mid-October was boycotted by high profile politicians, corporate bigwigs and international media organisations. Meanwhile in Riyadh, Saudi authorities have released two princes who had been detained for over a year, in an apparent bid to shore up internal family support amid international condemnation.
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