The Saudi International begins life as an Asian Tour event in 2022, with a host of the game’s biggest names set to descend upon Jeddah’s Royal Greens Golf and Country Club.
It’ll be the fourth edition of the tournament, which had been part of the European Tour since its 2019 inception, before a parting of the ways due to the ongoing threat of the Saudi-backed Super Golf League.
Both Jay Monahan and Keith Pelley, heads of the PGA and DP World Tours respectively, had threatened players with potential suspensions and bans should they tee it up, but eventually had to concede defeat and grant numerous conditional releases to some of their biggest stars.
That means the 2022 Saudi International now boasts one of the strongest fields in golf, which is littered with major winners such as Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and defending champion Dustin Johnson.
The event takes place from February 3-6 and features an inflated total purse of $5 million, up from last year’s $3.5m thanks to further investment from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds.
Despite being seen by many as an attempt to ‘sportswash’ Saudi Arabia’s poor human rights record, Shane Lowry recently defended his decision to play, saying: “Look, obviously there’s no hiding from the people writing about this tournament or what they’re saying about us going to play, but at the end of the day I’m not a politician, I’m a professional golfer.
“I’m happy to earn my living going there and going and playing good golf and hopefully win a tournament.”
Saudi International Field 2022 – Who is playing?
The final line-up for the 2022 Saudi International is yet to be published, but below is an up-to-date list of confirmed players:
- Abraham Ancer
- Adri Arnaus
- Rafael Cabrera Bello
- Paul Casey
- Bryson DeChambeau
- Jason Dufner
- Tony Finau
- Tommy Fleetwood
- Sergio Garcia
- Tyrrell Hatton
- Dustin Johnson
- Jason Kokrak
- Marc Leishman
- Shane Lowry
- Graeme McDowell
- Phil Mickelson
- Kevin Na
- Joaquin Niemann
- Louis Oosthuizen
- Victor Perez
- Ian Poulter
- Patrick Reed
- Xander Schauffele
- Cameron Smith
- Henrik Stenson
- Harold Varner III
- Jhonattan Vegas
- Bubba Watson
- Lee Westwood
- Matthew Wolff
Where is the Saudi International?
The Saudi International takes place at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), near Jeddah. Designed by renowned course architect Dave Sampson, the par-72 layout measures 7,201 yards and features stunning views of the Red Sea.
It’s the first state-of-the-art golf facility in Saudi Arabia, purpose built to host championship events. An eclectic but traditional mixture of holes offer a good test to the best players in the world, with winning scores ranging from 12- to 19-under in its three stagings to date.
Is the Saudi International a PGA event?
Put simply, no. The Saudi International was played for the first time in 2019 and was sanctioned as a European Tour event until this year. Due to the fallout from the proposed Saudi-backed Super Golf League, officials from both the PGA and DP World Tours have been keen to distance themselves from the event and focus on their strategic alliance.
Who won the 2021 Saudi International?
Dustin Johnson won the 2021 Saudi International by two shots from Justin Rose and Tony Finau. The American added a closing 68 to rounds of 67, 64 and 66 for a 265 total that was good enough to clinch his second title in three years.
What is the prize fund at the Saudi International?
This year, the total prize purse is a record $5m, up from the $3.5m it has been since its inception in 2019. Players also receive significant appearance fees for committing to the event that is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
Credit: Source link