The European Tour will not be returning to Bahrain for the Volvo Golf Champions in January of 2012. The event’s 2011 debut was deemed a great success by tournament sponsors and officials alike, but political unrest– of the bothersome type that has a habit of leaving scores of innocent protesters dead– has forced sponsors to temporarily look beyond the Middle East for a venue.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the decision represented some sort of moral stand on behalf of the sponsors or presaged a sea change in the way in which Bahrain is viewed by the European corporate establishment, but no: IMG sound like they can’t get back there quick enough:
“We look forward to returning soon. While we have yet to confirm the destination for the 2012 Volvo Champions, it will certainly be outside the Middle East as Bahrain is intended to be the long-term home of the event in that region.”
There’s always a chance that the event organisers are playing some geopolitical game that we’re all too bewildered by current events to see, but to my eyes at least, this looks an awful lot like a defensive, petrodollar-friendly PR decision (“We’ll be back once all that press hullabaloo calms down, chaps.” *clink of champagne flutes*).