Paul Casey has signed a multi-million dollar deal to join the Saudi rebel circuit, a little more than three years after declining to play in the Kingdom due to ethical concerns in his role as a UNICEF ambassador.
Casey, 44, was announced in a remarkable transformation as the LIV Golf Series' latest big-name capture during the final round of the second $25million event, which saw South African Branden Grace walk away with more than £3m.
Englishman Casey will make his LIV debut at Bedminster, New Jersey, at a course owned by former President Donald Trump and which already has controversy written all over it.
Before then Casey is due to play in the two-day JP McManus Pro-Am, which starts in Adare, Co Limerick on Monday, and then in the 150th Open Championship in St Andrew’s from July 14-17.
Inevitably the former world No 3 will be questioned about his metamorphosis from Saudi objector to Saudi backer and in particular his comments in 2019 when explaining why he turned down an appearance fee to tee it up in the inaugural Saudi International, which was then on the European Tour.
"Signing a deal and being paid to be down there … I would be a hypocrite if I did that,” Casey said in an interview. “Anyone who says sport isn’t political, that’s rubbish. I’m glad I took a stance, more so if it highlighted the issues within the region, especially next door in Yemen.”
In truth, nobody within the game was too surprised at Casey's defection. Not only is he represented by GSE Worldwide, the agency which also has LIV golfers Bryson DeChambeau, Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen and Grace in its ranks, but Casey managed to overcome his discomfort with the Saudi regime by appearing in the last three stagings of the Saudi International.
At 26th in the world, he becomes LIV's highest-ranked European and means that a third of the last European Ryder Cup team are now part of the series. Casey has not played for more than three months because of a back problem and at his age and with his faltering frame, this huge payday - that will run deep into eight figures - probably comes at the perfect time.
Yet it will come at a cost. Casey is a member of both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour - formerly the European Tour - and will face sanctions when he plays at Trump National. The PGA Tour has issued indefinite bans to the rebels and the DP World Tour hit its players who competed in the first LIV event in Hertfordshire last month with £100,000 fines and a suspension from this week's Scottish Open.
Wentworth HQ has yet to decide on further disciplinary measures and is facing a legal threat from the "Saudi 16" - the pros who played in the second event in Portland, Oregon, who sent a collective letter to the DP World Tour, demanding the sanctions are reprieved and that they be reinstated into the Scottish Open field.
However, the Saudi 16's deadline for reinclusion has passed and the field at the Renaissance still does not include any of their names.