In a refreshingly honest assessment, Tommy Fleetwood admits the two main reasons for players competing at next month’s Saudi International are the handsome appearance money and the world rankings points on offer.
The Englishman was speaking on the NoLayingUp podcast where he was asked for his thoughts on the process of applying to compete at the Asian Tour event set to be hosted at Royal Greens Golf Club from February 3-6.
“There were two things that are the biggest things that pull the guys to play, and personally this was my reason for wanting to play” the world number 40 said.
“There’s no secret that a lot of people are getting paid handsomely to go. People get paid to play events throughout the year in many, many different places so that’s not a new concept at all, but you are getting paid well to go and play [laughing].
“The other thing is that when you look at the entry list and you know who’s going and who wants to play, it’s going to be -aside from the majors and the odd event – one of the highest world ranking events in the world of golf throughout the year and you don’t want to miss out on that.
“That was my reasoning for wanting to play. Until recently you didn’t know what was going to happen or how it was going to pan out and yeah we needed the releases to play but it looks like that’s all getting sorted out and there’s a compromise there and it’s all good so far.”
Pushed by host Chris Solomon who asked if Fleetwood was aware as to why players have come under such criticism for competing in the Saudi event at the expense of others, especially American based players, Fleetwood added:
“Yeah, of course, I get it – that’s what makes the world go round. People’s thoughts and opinions and beliefs, and look, it was a European Tour event for three years and it’s now an Asian Tour event.
“And yeah, it’s different when you’re a member of a tour that is hosting the event . You can’t expect people whose job it is to go out there and make a living to bypass an event because that’s their opportunity and their way of making a living on those tours.
“I get it. I’d never tell anybody not to have an opinion. But myself, I’m going there with 150 other players to go and do my best in that event and I’m not going to hide away from it. You’re getting paid to play which is a good thing for you and your family and when you get there, it’s just another event.”