The Saudi International has announced a new raft of notable names to its February field with news that Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman, Irish Open champ Lucas Herbert, Victor Perez and Matthew Wolff will all make their debuts at the event while last year’s runner-up Tony Finau, and Patrick Reed will also return.
The announcement comes off the back of the tournament announcing a new title sponsor – the Public Investment Fund – which happens to be Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, reported to be worth more than $500billion.
No wonder then that the game’s elite are flocking to Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City where the appearance money is set to far outweigh the modest $5million prize fund on offer from February 3-6. The mere $8.7million AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am scheduled for the same week in California will have its work cut out to gather a field at all such is the appetite to grow the game in Saudi it seems.
The Irish duo of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry are already committed to the Saudi event, as well as reported PIP winner Phil Mickelson as well as a who’s who of the world’s top-50 that includes Saudi specialist Dustin Johnson, Abraham Ancer, Lee Westwood, Tommy Fleetwood, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Na, Jason Kokrak, Bryson DeChambeau, Sergio Garcia, Tyrrell Hatton, Adri Arnaus, Rafael Cabrera Bello, Paul Casey, Jason Dufner, Shane Lowry, Joaquin Niemann, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Poulter, Xander Schauffele, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Harold Varner III, Jhonattan Vegas and Bubba Watson.
“We have a truly world-class international field assembling for the 2022 edition of the Saudi International. The mix of the world’s best players from across the U.S., Europe and Asia Pacific will make this year our most anticipated yet,” said Majed Al-Sorour, CEO and Deputy Chairman of Golf Saudi and the Saudi Golf Federation via press release.
“Bringing together strong fields for our international men’s and women’s events has shown to play a vital role in driving participation and engagement in the sport in Saudi Arabia.
“The commitment from our long-term partners at the PIF to take the title position on the event has provided further recognition that the event has reached a level of strategic importance for Saudi Arabia, impacting our schools and grassroots programs as well as our rapidly improving national teams as part of the long journey we’re on in Saudi Arabia.”