'No American can go to that area': Golfer Bryson DeChambeau fearful of appearing at Abu Dhabi event amid Iran crisis
Bryson DeChambeau, the world's 15th ranked player, says he could forfeit his $1.4 million appearance fee for the event in the United Arab Emirates amid safety concerns in the Gulf region in the wake of the US-Iran conflict.
Iran has signaled its intention to "unleash Hezbollah" in the Gulf, following the Unites States' strike to eliminate Iranian general Qassem Soleimani last week.
Iran has since retaliated against military bases containing US personnel in Iraq and further violence is feared in the stand-off between the two nations.Also on rt.com Kicking all US troops out of Middle East will be Iran’s ‘final answer’ to Soleimani’s assassination – Rouhani
As ever, the fear of collateral damage is a significant one and DeChambeau is concerned that American citizens in the region could be under threat - a feeling which has led to him questioning his participation at an event in Abu Dhabi next Thursday.
The Abu Dhabi Golf Championship is one of the biggest events on the annual European Tour and featured as part of its 'Gulf Swing' aimed at spreading awareness of the game past the traditional European borders.
But 26-year-old Ryder Cup star DeChambeau says that the potential dangers that exist to American passport holders in the region has made him reconsider his involvement, and he says that he's "not really sure" if he will take part in the competition.
Speaking on his Twitch stream, DeChambeau said that "no American is able to go over to that area" for fear of reprisal attacks, following President Donald Trump's decision to eliminate Soleimani.
"I seriously may not be going to Abu Dhabi," DeChambeau said. "All this talk, no American is able to go over to that area. Insane, brother. Protecting the country, though, I love it. Gotta love it.
"When will I know for sure about Abu Dhabi? Well, looks like (next Tuesday) I'll find out," he added.
However, figures within the Iranian hierarchy have stated that US civilians are not to be targeted and that revenge attacks are to be made against US military assets only.
Some of golf's biggest names have been invited to participate in the event, their heads turned perhaps by the handsome appearance fees forked out to professionals. World number one Brooks Koepka is scheduled to play, as are Tommy Fleetwood and Sergio Garcia.Also on rt.com ‘Etiquette violation’: Korean pro golfer gets 3-year ban for giving fans the middle finger (VIDEO)
"The safety of our players, staff and everyone involved in all our tournaments around the world remains our top priority," a spokesperson for the European Tour said.
"The European Tour constantly monitors situations in all our host countries, taking advice from the relevant agencies where appropriate, and we will continue to do so."