Meghan MacLaren explains why she won't be heading to the Middle East for the inaugural Saudi Ladies International

Meghan MacLaren shocked precisely no one when she pulled out of next month’s Saudi Ladies International. MacLaren is, after all, a rare sports star of principle.

The event in Saudi Arabia is one of just six tournaments on the 25-strong LET schedule for 2020 that will carry more than $1 million in prize money. In the men’s version at the beginning of February the likes of Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson pocketed several times that between them in appearance fees alone.

“There are a lot of different ways to look at it,” MacLaren explained. “It’s five times the amount of money we’ll be playing for in a regular event – and you can’t just ignore that but that’s not that different to some of the men taking appearance fees.

“At what point does the money mean more to you than what you might stand for or what you believe in?

“Some people can separate those two things – their morals or their human being side and their athlete identity – but for me, in my career, I’ve tried not to separate any of my identities. And that’s one of the things that I enjoy doing, showing that you don’t have to have all of these different roles, you can be whoever you are in everything that you do, and a situation like this complicates things a lot.”

Although MacLaren is keen to stress she won’t push her decision on anyone else, she says she’ll be surprised if many others pull out for the same reasons.

“It’s slightly different in the female game as none of us have won $15 million in the space of a week, or even an entire career,” MacLaren, referring to the bonus cheque written to the winner of the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup, added. “So that has to be a factor.

“But at the same time where do you draw the line on certain things?

“Different players will believe different things on the event and about where the money comes from and what the intention is. None of us can possibly prove that what we think is accurate but different players will go by different things. It’s not a black-and-white issue but it’s one I wish sport didn’t get involved in.”

Meghan MacLaren was talking on ‘Not Another Golf Podcast’ with NCG’s Alex Perry and SportingLife’s Ben Coley. Follow NCG on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.