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Shane Lowry with no reservations playing Saudi International: 'I'm not a politician'

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In what is sure to be a theme over the next four weeks heading into the Saudi International, Shane Lowry defended his decision to play in the Asian Tour event next month, telling reporters, “I’m not a politician.”

On a conference call promoting the event, Lowry was asked about a recent editorial in the Washington Post that said players who participate in the Saudi International are “accepting blood money.”

“I'm happy to go there. I'm happy to earn my living going there and going and playing good golf and hopefully win a tournament,” Lowry said on Tuesday. “I think for me as a golfer, I'm not a politician, I'll let everyone else take care of that, and I'll go and do my job.”

Tyrrell Hatton, who was also on the conference call, deferred to Lowry on the subject. “I’ve got nothing to add,” he said.

The Saudi International field includes world No. 3 Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson. Nearly two dozen Tour members requested competing-event releases for the Saudi event.

Tour grants Saudi event releases, however ...

The PGA Tour has granted competing-event releases for the Saudi event, but there will be a quid pro quo.

Lowry, like most players, confirmed that he initially signed a three-year agreement to play the Saudi International in 2019 when the event was sanctioned by the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour). The Irishman also confirmed that he was granted competing-event releases to play the event by both the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour.

The Tour granted those releases based on stipulations to add the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which will be played the same week as the Saudi International, to their schedules in the future.