Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson are amongst a star-studded group of players to have confirmed their participation in the 2022 Saudi International.
Struck from the DP World Tour schedule amidst the ongoing power-struggle currently gripping the men’s game, the Saudi International is scheduled to take place at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, near Jeddah, from February 3-6.
That places it directly opposite a new European Tour event, the Ras al Khaimah Championship, scheduled to take place in the UAE the same week.
Whilst it hasn’t been confirmed, it is strongly suspected that the Saudi International will form part of a new-look Asian Tour schedule which has been bolstered by Greg Norman’s new LIV Golf Investments venture, itself part-funded by Saudi Arabian cash.
In addition to DeChambeau, Johnson and Mickelson, players confirmed to play in the 2022 Saudi International include Tyrrell Hatton, Xander Schauffele, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen and Paul Casey.
Abraham Ancer, Shane Lowry, Adam Scott and Rafa Cabrera Bello have also indicated their intention to play, along with Kevin Na, Adri Arnaus, Jason Dufner and Jason Kokrak, as well as Graeme McDowell, Joaquin Niemann, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, Harold Varner III, Jhonattan Vegas, Bubba Watson and lee Westwood.
Majed Al-Sorour, CEO and Deputy Chairman of Golf Saudi and the Saudi Golf Federation, said: “The 2022 edition of The International is the strongest yet, but we are still only in the formative years of our vision for golf in the Kingdom.
“We are seeing great progress in participation with boys and girls through our national grass roots and schools’ programs, and are enjoying a significant uptick in demand from men and women throughout The Kingdom. We are also enjoying a rich vein of form with our national amateur teams.
“Whilst this is a product of many factors, there is no denying the massive impact the best players in the world can have on creating multi-generational interest in the sport. This is why we place such importance on securing the strongest field possible, each and every year.”
A report in The Telegraph last week hinted at severe DP World Tour sanctions for ‘rebel’ members who defy tour conditions to play in the Saudi International.
It quotes a source close to the tour as saying: “Some of the players seem to be under the impression the Tour won’t come down hard on this, but there is a determination high up that the punishment will be more than meaningless fines.”
The European Tour has declined to comment on the accuracy of this report.