asian golf tour saudi arabia

Saudi Open Presented by PIF

Tournament introduction.

asian golf tour saudi arabia


asian golf tour saudi arabia


Past winner.

asian golf tour saudi arabia


asian golf tour saudi arabia


asian golf tour saudi arabia

Host venue of the Saudi Open, the facility boasts a challenging 18-hole golf course with exceptional practice facilities. The course’s undulating terrain, wide fairways and manicured greens offer golfers a pleasurable and challenging experience. The manmade lakes and streams traversing into the whole course aim to keep golfers at the top of their game, whilst strategically placed pins will keep the total scores competitive. 

After recent refurbishments, the club now offers a leisure Padel club, restaurant, Shisha Lounge and outdoor terrace with large screens for events.

asian golf tour saudi arabia

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of professional golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognized pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia.

The Tour is officially recognized by the Official World Golf Ranking and provides its events with valuable ranking points for participants to be recognized on the world stage. It is also an affiliate of the R&A.


asian golf tour saudi arabia


asian golf tour saudi arabia


asian golf tour saudi arabia


asian golf tour saudi arabia


asian golf tour saudi arabia


asian golf tour saudi arabia


asian golf tour saudi arabia

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Saudi International: Full list of entries for first event on Asian Tour

Golf in uae, golf in uae world.

A heady mix of strong regional participation along with big names in fray

Golf - Graeme McDowell

Dubai: Strong local and regional participation will mark the $5 million PIF Saudi International, powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers on the Asian Tour, alongside some of the best golfers in the world this weekend from February 3-6.

The Asian Tour has published the confirmed entry list for the event, the first tournament on the 2022 Asian Tour Order of Merit to be played at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, King Abdullah Academic City in Jeddah, South Arabia. A total of 120 players are in the field, representing 33 different countries.

UAE residents Rafa Cabrera Bello (Spain), Adri Arnaus (Spain), Shiv Kapur (Ind), MG Keyser (RSA / Jumeirah Golf Estates) are in the field along with amateur Josh Hill (Eng / Trump International Golf Cub, Dubai).

Other Arab countries represented include Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and the host country, Saudi Arabia.

Full entry list

Former saudi international champions.

Dustin Johnson (USA)

Graeme McDowell (NI)

Top 300 in Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR)

Xander Schauffele (USA)big names

Bryson DeChambeau (USA)

Cameron Smith (Aus)vent

Tony Finau (USA)

Abraham Ancer (Mexico)

Jason Kokrak (USA)

Tyrrell Hatton (Eng)

Patrick Reed (USA)

Paul Casey (Eng)

Kevin Na (USA)

Matthew Wolff (USA)

Thomas Pieters (Bel)

Joaquin Niemann (Chile)

Marc Leishman (Aus)

Phil Mickelson (USA)

Lee Westwood (Eng)

Sergio Garcia (Spain)

Tommy Fleetwood (Eng)

Lucas Herbert (Aus)

Shane Lowry (Ire)

Ian Poulter (Eng)

Takumi Kanaya (Japan)

Ryosuke Kinoshita (Japan)

Joohyung Kim (South Korea)

Jhonattan Vegas (Venezuela)

Victor Perez (Fr)

Laurie Canter (Eng)

Harold Varner III (USA)

Rikuya Hoshino (Japan)

Bubba Watson (USA)

Rafa Cabrera Bello (Spain)

Sam Horsfield (Eng)

Scott Vincent (Zimbabwe)

Justin Harding (RSA)

Adri Arnaus (Spain)

Sadom Kaewkanjana (Thai)

Shubhankar Sharma (Ind)

Hiroshi Iwata (Japan)

Henrik Stenson (Swe)

Phachara Khongwatmai (Thai)

Neil Schietekat (RSA)

Jediah Morgan (Aus)

Bio Kim (South Korea)

Jazz Janewattananond (Thai)

Wade Ormsby (Aus)

Daniel Hillier (Aus)

Todd Baek (USA)

Ryo Hisatsune (Japan)

Jaco Ahlers (RSA)

JC Ritchie (RSA)

Tournament Invitations: Professionals

Jason Dufner (USA)

Wu Ashun (China)

Oliver Fisher (Eng)

Othman Almulla (KSA)

Shergo Al Kurdi (Jordan)

Zach Bauchou (USA)

Sebastian Crampton (USA)

Jovan Rebula (RSA)

James Hart Du Preez (RSA)

Pablo Larrazabal (Spain)

Eduard Rousaud (Spain)

Thongchai Jaidee (Thai)

Cormac Sharvin (NI)

Matteo Manassero (It)

Naoki Sekito (Jap)

Angelo Que (Philippines)

Danny Masrin (Ind)

Prom Meesawat (Thai)

Louis Dobbelaar (Aus)

Siddikur Rahman (Bangladesh)

Koh Deng Shan (Sing)

Ryan Ruffels (Aus)

Khalin Joshi (Ind)

Chikkarangappa S (Ind)

Viraj Madappa (Ind)

MG Keyser (RSA)

Jack Harrison (Eng)

Bjorn Hellgren (Swe)

Ben Eccles (USA)

Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (Thai)

Chan, Shih-chang (Chinese Taipei)

Trevor Simsby (USA)

Jarin Todd (USA)

Kosuke Hamamoto (Thai)

Sihwan Kim (USA)

Pavit Tangkamolprasert (Thai)

Panuphol Pittayarat (Thai)

Rattanon Wannasrichan (Thai)

Richard T. Lee (Can)

Andrew Dodt (Aus)

Paul Peterson (USA)

Berry Henson (USA)

Travis Smyth (USA)

Rashid Khan (Ind)

Veer Ahlawat (Ind)

Steve Lewton (Eng)

Shiv Kapur (Ind)

Doyeob Mun (South Korea)

Danthai Boonma (Thai)

Natipong Srithong (Thai)

Hongtaek Kim (South Korea)

Suradit Yongcharoenchai (Thai)

Gavin Green (Mal)

Scott Hend (Aus)

Jbe Kruger (RSA)

Rory Hie (Ind)

Yikeun Chang (South Korea)

Miguel Carballo (Arg)

Poom Saksansin (Thai)

Yoseop Seo (South Korea)

PGA of Australasia

Brad Kennedy (Aus)

Tournament Invitations: Amateurs

Taichi Kho (a) (Hong Kong)

Ratchanon Chantananuwat (a) (Thai)

Josh Hill (a) (Eng)

Faisal Salhab (a) (KSA)

Saud Sharif (a) (KSA)

Dean Naime (a) (Egypt)

Saleh Ali Al Kaabi (a) (Qatar).

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PIF Saudi International

02/02 – 02/05/2023

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Tournament information - PIF Saudi International 2023 - Asian Tour

The PIF Saudi International in the season 2023 is being played in Jeddah, Saudi Arabien at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club. The tournament starts at the Thursday, 2nd of February and ends at the Sunday, 5th of February 2023.

The PIF Saudi International is part of the Asian Tour in the season 2023. In 2023 all players competing for a total prize money of 5 Mio Dollar.

The course for the tournament at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club plays at Par 70.

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Asian Tour unveils early 2023 schedule ahead of strongest-ever season

asian golf tour saudi arabia

The Asian Tour has unveiled its 2023 schedule through May, for what promises to be the finest start to a season the Tour has ever enjoyed.

The campaign will commence in Saudi Arabia, at the most lucrative event of the year, before being followed by an exciting blend of established and new tournaments, including four International Series events.    

The impressive schedule boasts a total of 11 tournaments contested over 14 weeks, starting with the $5 million PIF Saudi International — won dramatically by American Harold Varner III this year when he holed a 92-foot eagle putt on the 72nd hole – at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, near Jeddah, from February 2-5.

RELATED: Asian Tour adds Al Mouj in Oman to International Series Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Scott Vincent earns LIV Golf spot

The Tour will then journey to two inaugural International Series tournaments in Oman and then Qatar – marking the first time the International Series will have visited the Middle East. Al Mouj Golf will host the former event, while Doha Golf Club will stage the latter.

These will be the first of an expanded 10 International Series events in 2023, with International Series stops to follow in Hua Hin, Thailand, in March, and Cam Ranh, Vietnam the following month. The International Series Thailand launched the International Series earlier this year and saw American Sihwan Kim triumph at Black Mountain Golf Club, while the Tour visits the spectacular KN Golf Links for the first edition of the Vietnam event. This will be the first time the Asian Tour will return to Vietnam in seven years.

The New Zealand Open makes a popular return to the calendar following a two-year COVID-19 enforced break in the first week of March at Millbrook Resort in Queenstown – the tournament’s home since 2014.

The DGC Open, inaugurated in the 2022 season, will also be staged in March at the historic Delhi Golf Club, as well as the Tour’s long-awaited return to Hong Kong with a new event at one of the region’s most iconic golfing venues, the Hong Kong Golf Club.

“We are very proud to announce the start of the 2023 season, hot off the heels of a tremendous 2022. It is fantastic to see us carry the momentum of the season we have just completed and start the new season at full pace.” said Cho Minn Thant, Commissioner & CEO, Asian Tour.

“The Asian Tour is absolutely thrilled with how the schedule looks. It reaches a wide range of exciting destination, offers extremely lucrative purses, world-class venues and a great balance of established and new events.

“The PIF Saudi International, a truly global golfing event, is the perfect way to start the season and sets the tone for what will be, unquestionably, the strongest season in the history of the Asian Tour.”

asian golf tour saudi arabia

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Saudi Open presented by Public Investment Fund marks the grand finale of the 2023 Asian Tour season

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More than 10 months after teeing-off its 2023 season in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Asian Tour will return for what promises to be a dramatic denouement to a memorable campaign.

Boasting a prize purse of US$1 million, the Saudi Open presented by Public Investment Fund will be staged at Riyadh Golf Club from December 14-17.

As the 23rd and last event on the Asian Tour’s 2023 calendar, the tournament will not only determine the Order of Merit champion but also will be the final chance for players to secure a top-65 finish and keep their playing rights for 2024.

Those that succeed will then be able to look forward to a speedy return to the Saudi Open presented by Public Investment Fund with the tournament also primed to play host to the opening leg of the 2024 season from January 25-28.

The elevation of the event from the Asian Development Tour (ADT) in 2022 to the Asian Tour is a further sign of the close ties between Golf Saudi and the Asian Tour.

“We’re delighted to see the Saudi Open presented by Public Investment Fund become part of the Asian Tour,” said Cho Minn Thant, Commissioner & CEO of the Asian Tour.

“Last year’s Saudi Open on the ADT was one of the most popular tournaments we have staged in the Kingdom. Following that success, it will now provide a fitting climax to the Asian Tour’s 2023 season – and we will then see a quick turnaround during the new year break and return to tee-off our 2024 campaign.

“Our thanks go to our counterparts at Golf Saudi and the Riyadh Golf Club for their continued support and partnership.”

The 120-strong field for this year’s event will include the top-80 available players from the Asian Tour’s 2023 Order of Merit as well as invited players from other international Tours, such as Australia, South Africa, Japan and Korea.

The tournament will also feature up and coming players from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Arab countries as well as representatives from Saudi Arabia’s national team.

Noah Alireza, CEO at Golf Saudi, said: “Joining the Asian Tour this year as the final event on its schedule is an exciting new development for the Saudi Open presented by Public Investment Fund.

“Every year we’ve hosted the tournament, it has got bigger and better. We’re especially proud of how each edition provides Saudi and Arab golfers the opportunity to participate in a top tier competition.

“It not only allows them to develop their skill levels but also to test themselves and go head-to-head against players from different countries in the Middle East, North Africa and now the Asian Tour in a competitive environment.”

In view of the significance of the tournament, the Merit points that will be awarded have been elevated to Tier 3, the same as The International Series events.

This will be the eighth edition of the Saudi Open presented by Public Investment Fund. Last year’s 54-hole event on the ADT was won by Indonesian Naraajie E. Ramadhanputra with a score of 19-under-par 197. Egyptian Issa Abouelelah finished as the low amateur on nine-under 207.

Managed by Golf Saudi and playing to a par of 72, Riyadh Golf Club is located 20 minutes from the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Opened in 2005, the course is laid out on undulating terrain with wide fairways and manicured greens.

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The many faces of Greg Norman's Saudi Arabia-backed golf revolution with the Asian Tour

Sport The many faces of Greg Norman's Saudi Arabia-backed golf revolution with the Asian Tour

Greg Norman looks down the fairway while he reaches for a club in his bag.

At its heart, golf is a game of instinct.

No two players will look at any course, any hole, any shot the same way. It's about knowing which instincts to trust and which to dismiss.

The formal announcement of LIV Golf Investments — a Saudi-backed group led by Greg Norman — and its plans for a series of lucrative events on the Asian Tour, has sparked any number of instinctive responses.

Norman, one of the greatest and most internationally recognisable Australian athletes of all time, seems to do that to people.

His latest venture is backed by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia, a sovereign wealth fund that purports to be independent of the country's government but is chaired by Mohammad bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

Norman's group has signed a 10-year deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars to bring 10 new events a year to the existing Asian Tour. Through heavily inflated prize purses and appearance fees, LIV Golf's aim is to attract the biggest and best names in the game away from the PGA Tour and into these events, all in the name of "growing the game" in the Asian region.

"I've been in Asia for 40 years and I've seen the sleeping giant that has been laying there," Norman says.

"I've seen it as a player, I've seen it from a business perspective, I've seen it from golf course design perspective.

"So when I had this opportunity presented to me, that was my first focal point to get in there because there is so much talent."

Norman is right. Asia is a hotbed of golf that is under-represented on the global stage in the men's game.

It's not unrealistic to believe the right benefactor and some forward-thinking could set golf up to be the most prominent game of the region and Asia the most prominent region of the game.

But there is, of course, an elephant in the room. One which has made the first instinct of many a distrusting of Norman's seemingly good intentions.

It's impossible to talk about this venture without also talking about Saudi Arabia and its highly problematic record of human rights abuses. The next logical step is to consider the modern phenomenon of "sportswashing" — governments using the sheen of international sport to distract from their own horrendous misdeeds.

The PIF has been in the news lately as the contentious new owners of Newcastle United in the Premier League and has previously forged partnerships with Formula 1 also.

Dustin Johnson holds a trophy flanked by two men wearing traditional Saudi robes and headdresses

Amnesty International has in the past warned players that "golfers tempted to play in these tournaments ought to take the time to consider the dynamics of sportswashing", and it is difficult to see this or any of the PIF's ventures as anything but.

The Newcastle United deal prompted Amnesty International to write to the Premier League directly and urge it to update its standards and procedures.

"Under Mohammed bin Salman, the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia remains dire – with government critics, women's rights campaigners, Shia activists and human defenders still being harassed and jailed, often after blatantly unfair trials," an Amnesty International statement, released in October, said.

"The closed-door trial of Jamal Khashoggi's alleged killers was widely perceived to be a part of a wider whitewash by the authorities, and Saudi Arabia is accused of a catalogue of crimes under international humanitarian law during the long-running conflict in Yemen.

"As with Formula 1, elite boxing, golf or tennis, an association with top-tier football is a very attractive means of rebranding a country or person with a tarnished reputation."

Norman "respects everyone's opinion" but chooses to take a wider and altogether more optimistic view.

"Every country has got a cross to bear," Norman says.

"Australia has got a cross to bear too with what they did with their Indigenous people in the past.

"So what has been done wrong in the past can be righted in the future. To me, don't judge situations or people on the past, judge them on what the facts are today.

"From my perspective, if you keep an open eye and open ears on this deal then it's a totally different deal. I think that's the simplest way I can put it."

Cho Minn Thant, commissioner and chief executive of the Asian Tour, is in a similarly difficult spot.

He appreciates that he and the tour "will never be apart from the political agenda" but lives with confidence that "the money can be used for the greater good of golf and sport".

At this point, your instincts may be warning you that something is amiss, that the ends can't possibly justify the means. For many people, this instinct will be too strong to ignore.

But consider Cho's perspective. The Asian Tour has been decimated by COVID as much or more than any other in the world, to the point he says that "there was no guarantee that any event was going to come back to the Asian Tour".

Now he and the tour have financial security, and the confidence to plan for a more stable future. Only months from fighting to stay alive, Asian golf is now preparing for a future in which it thrives.

"It's a great relief more than anything," Cho says.

"If it wasn't for this investment from LIV Golf, we'd be in a position where we'd be scrambling around trying to restart the tour.

"This has almost been a godsend for us. To have a 10-year deal in place really gives us the confidence and security to create a schedule and grow the tour.

"It's hard for anyone to criticise what we've done given the situation we were in, and what position we are in now."

Cho is understandably viewing these events through his obligation to the Asian Tour and golf throughout the continent.

He looks at the players currently plying their trade on the Asian Tour as the "backbone" of its future and will have spots reserved for 70 to 75 Asian Tour players in each of the LIV Golf tournaments.

Dustin Johnson plays a shot out of a fairway bunker

Cho says in the short term he expects the fields in these events to remain similar to those in Asian Tour events of years past, but "after the first season the proof will be in the pudding" and "it will attract more players from overseas to come and play".

Norman is thinking bigger. He wants the world's best at his events.

He says he is "extremely close" to sealing deals with players — "independent contractors", he calls them — and says announcements are coming in the "very near future".

The identities of the players Norman is referring to remain a mystery for now, but the rumour mill has been hyperactive in recent weeks and months.

Rory McIlroy, perhaps the most forthright and earnest player on the PGA Tour, has been clear in his objection to playing in these or any Saudi events, citing both a lack of interest in the money on offer and the "morality" of the issue too.

"People can see it for what it is — a money grab," McIlroy said in May.

"Which is fine if what you're playing golf for is to make as much money as possible. Totally fine, then go and do that if that's what makes you happy.

"I'm just speaking about my own beliefs. I'm playing this game to try to cement my place in history and my legacy and to win major championships and to win the biggest tournaments in the world."

In the time since the LIV Golf announcement major champions Patrick Reed, Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka have all been quoted sharing varying levels of reluctance.

When those names are presented to Norman, he does little to slow the scuttlebutt.

"The comments from Rory McIlroy? I respect his opinion," Norman says.

"Comments from the other ones? You've got to read between the lines. It depends on the editor and how he wants to interpret the words that are being said.

"I have had conversations with those guys and I know exactly where they stand.

"One person's interpretation on what the comment is and another person's reality of it — perception and reality are two different things."

Just hours after this interview with Norman, prominent golf podcast No Laying Up releases its own chat with Thomas who, while extolling the virtues of the PGA Tour, says "nothing is necessarily off or on the table, everything always has a possibility".

A golfer finishes his swing out of a bunker, with sand spraying in the air.

For the concept to have the global cut-through Norman desires, the stature of the players it attracts will be make or break.

He points to the names he has now added to LIV Golf's board of directors — people like Will Staeger, Slugger White and Jane MacNeille, all with years of experience within golf and sports broadcasting — as proof positive of the concept.

"It tells you that they recognise a couple of things. One, the business model is absolutely stress-tested and works," Norman says.

"Two, the financial backing is there, which is sometimes hard to find with single-source financing. And three, they have belief in the players.

"I think that's the most important one for you right now, they have belief in the players."

And the lure is inescapably strong for any player.

For those past their prime, an unprecedented payday is on offer simply for turning up. For the "young professionals and young amateurs" that Cho says he wants to encourage, there is a genuine platform to launch a career.

And for players at the very top like Thomas, if one or two go, the rest may follow.

"At the end of the day, I'm just going to go and play wherever the top players are," Thomas told No Laying Up.

"If nine of the top 10, or 18 of the top 20 decide to go play in a different tour, I don't have a choice. I want to play against the top players in the world and have a chance to win tournaments against the best players in the world."

Tony Finau plays a shot towards the green from off the manicured fairway

Now your instincts might be seeing this whole thing as an inevitability, that the inherent unpleasantness underneath it all is simply the cost of doing business in the 21st century.

Because these events will be official under the Asian Tour umbrella, threats from PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan to ban players who compete hold little water, and players can still gather the official World Golf Ranking points required to compete at golf's major championships.

If the only potential obstacle is the make-up of the moral compass of each individual involved, what stands in its way? And beyond that, does Australian professional golf — so damaged and beleaguered from these COVID years — look to cut itself off a piece of the pie?

Norman says he has already had discussions with government officials who are interested in "engaging" with his events, and that his phone has been "inundated from governments to corporations to players to coaches right across the board".

"If I can give Australia the opportunity to host an event and be involved with it, I'm all for it," he says.

Golf Australia and the PGA of Australia were asked about the prospect of a relationship with Norman and his Asian Tour events but offered no comment.

One way or another, golf is changing. Rumblings of an entirely separate Premier Golf League have been increasing even since Norman's plans were laid out, and the PGA Tour is reportedly set to make enhanced financial commitments to try to dampen the lure of the Asian Tour's new-found riches.

Norman reflects on lost Masters

How that saturated landscape impacts LIV Golf's plans is yet another mystery, though Norman says he welcomes the competition — "you know who the benefactors are? The players, the fans and the game". 

Cho says the Asian Tour's bid for greater exposure could include experimenting with the television broadcast of events, trialling "new technology, whether it be putting a 3D camera on some of the players if they allow it, new graphics, new ways of looking at golf", all made simpler he says by the Asian Tour's in-house broadcast team.

Of the 10 annual events run by LIV Golf, most will likely remain standard 72-hole strokeplay events, but Cho has flagged the possibility of modified scoring methods and mixed events — something Norman says he is all for.

"I'm a big proponent of growing women's golf as well, whether it's at amateur level or at professional," Norman says.

"Like I said, we want to grow the game of golf across all avenues. Whether it's women, whether it's grassroots, whether it's amateurs, whatever it is, we are going to grow the game of golf."

This endeavour, and everyone from LIV Golf to the Asian Tour to Greg Norman to the players to the PGA of Australia, feel like they are standing on the first tee box ready to fire, trusting their instincts on what fate awaits the ball.

Which is fitting, because a well-designed golf hole often tries to play with your sense of perspective. What from one position can appear the widest, safest fairway may in truth be far more risky than meets the eye, and vice versa.

Greg Norman looks on after completing a shot

Can this whole thing be simplified to sportswashing and greed at the dismissal of all else? Or is taking a wider, more holistic view to the potential tangible benefit just playing into the hands of the Saudi state, and all that that entails?

"All I can tell you is I'm a believer," Norman says.

"I've been a believer in the game of golf since day one. It has given so much to me and if I have the opportunity to take leadership to give back to the game, that's a great honour and I'm going to take it and make it work."

Your instinct may lead you to a different conclusion. There is more than one way to play a golf shot.

But at the end of the round, the scorecard never lies.

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Saudi International, Golf Scores

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2023 Saudi PIF International: Prize Money Breakdown and Winner’s Payout

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via Reuters

Golf – The inaugural LIV Golf Invitational – Centurion Club, St Albans, Britain – June 8, 2022 Team Hy Flyers Phil Mickelson of the U.S. during a press conference Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

The Asian Tour has kicked off its 2023 season, beginning with the Saudi International this weekend. The event generates more interest due to its connections with the primary sponsor, the Public Investment Fund, which is the driving force behind the newly formed LIV Golf Series. While LIV events have some of golf’s most lucrative purses, does the Saudi International follow on similar lines?

What’s on offer at the Saudi International?

The 2023 Saudi International is scheduled for the first week of February. As part of the Asian Tour, the event essentially kicks off the new season’s schedule. It is being hosted by the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia.


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Ahead of the start of season two of the LIV Golf Series, several contracted players have participated in events for game time. Many European stars recently played at the Dubai Desert Classic, which included former major championship winner Patrick Reed . The controversial golfer found himself in the middle of the ‘teegate’ controversy , before displaying an exuberant show in the final round to finish second in the standings.

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USA Today via Reuters

Oct 28, 2022; Miami, Florida, USA; Phil Mickelson plays his shot off the ninth tee box during the first round of the season finale of the LIV Golf series at Trump National Doral. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Saudi International will also feature some star names making their season debuts. One of them is veteran golfer Phil Mickelson . The 6-time major championship winner claimed he was in his best possible shape heading into the season. But with age not by his side, it remains to be seen whether ‘Lefty’ can add to his titles.

Purses and winner’s share at the Saudi International

The total purse for the 2023 Saudi International is set at $5 million, with the winner of the tournament taking home $1 million. The amount is 20% of the purse, which defies the 18 percent payout according to the Asian Tour’s prize money distribution chart.

Initially a 120-player field, the top 65 players will make it through the cut after 36 holes. Beyond the prize money, there are ranking points on offer. The tournament winner will receive 25 Official World Golf Ranking points, while also adding to their Order of Merit tally, which is crucial for access to tournaments and bonuses.

Here’s the prize money breakdown (as per rank) for the Saudi International.

Who do you think will win the 2023 Saudi International? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Watch This Story –  John Daly Shares His Views on the LIV Golf Invitational Series


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Pinehurst #10 Opened Today. Want to play it?

LIV pros are dominating Asian Tour event in pursuit of world ranking points

Louis Oosthuizen is tied for the lead with fellow LIV pro Carlos Ortiz at the International Series Event in Omna.

Jason Butler/Getty Images

LIV Golf is off this week, with the next scheduled event beginning March 1 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. But LIV’s players aren’t. Many of them are playing the Asian Tour’s International Series event in Oman , and you don’t have to look hard on the leaderboard to find them.

Through three rounds at Al Mouj Golf in Muscat, LIV players are dominating the tournament. Tied for first place at 12 under is major champion and early LIV convert Louis Oosthuizen , along with fellow LIVer Carlos Ortiz .

Individual winner Charl Schwartzel walks alongside teammates Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen of Stinger GC during day three of the 2022 LIV Golf Invitational - London event.

Host of LIV pros hunt for backdoor into majors this week on Asian Tour

But it doesn’t stop there. Tied for third you’ll find American LIV pro Peter Uihlein, just in front of LIV’s Lucas Herbert and Kieran Vincent, who are at 10 under through the first 54 holes.

The two players tied for 10th also cash LIV paychecks: Joaquin Niemann, who earlier this week received a surprise invite to the 2024 Masters , and Matthew Wolff, Brooks Koepka’s much-maligned former LIV teammate .

Of the 21 LIV players in the field, seven of them are within the top 10 with one round to play.

Why are all of these players, who are making considerable money on LIV, plying their trades in Oman this week, and clearly grinding hard to win? It’s all about world ranking points.

Liv pro Joaquin Niemann plays chip shot during 2023 Masters

Augusta announces surprise Masters invites to LIV golfer, two others

The Official World Golf Ranking is the primary way players earn spots in the four major championships in men’s golf: the Masters, the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open and the Open Championship.

But LIV tournaments have never awarded world ranking points, and after the OWGR’s decision in October , they won’t any time soon. So LIV players, whose rankings have dropped significantly after joining the upstart tour, are forced to play elsewhere to earn points.

One of the few places they can is on the Asian Tour, and especially in the PIF-funded International Series events, of which this week’s Oman tournament is a part.

It’s hard to say how many world ranking points are up for grabs in Oman. But given that the strength of the field is weak in terms of OWGR, even the winner is unlikely to be rewarded with significant points.

But Oosthuizen is a good example of the ground players can make up in a short amount of time. Last year, Oosthuizen fell all the way to No. 441 in the OWGR. But after two wins in South African events sanctioned by the DP World Tour late last year, he’s climbed all the way to No. 137. A third win this week should see him climb even higher.

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Saudi Arabia complete deal to host WTA Finals: The background, the backlash and the money

FORT WORTH, TEXAS - OCTOBER 28:  (L-R) The Top 8 singles players, Daria Kasatkina, Maria Sakkari, Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula, Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka, and Caroline Garcia pose with the Billie Jean King Trophy at the Hotel Drover prior to the 2022 WTA Finals, part of the Hologic WTA Tour, on October 28, 2022 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for WTA)

The women’s professional tennis tour will hold its season-ending WTA Finals in Saudi Arabia for the next three years, marking the latest step in the country’s huge investment in the elite level of the sport.

WTA Tour chief executive Steve Simon made the announcement in a statement released on Thursday, following more than a year of discussion with Saudi officials. The WTA was close to a deal with Saudi Arabia last summer but pivoted at the last minute amid public pressure from some of the most prominent women in the sport. They criticized the tour for choosing money over principles and doing business in a country with a history of repressive laws against women, that criminalizes homosexuality and free speech, and that in 2018 murdered Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident journalist who had travelled to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, to get documents he needed for a marriage license.


The WTA Finals deal is part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to become a major destination for international sports and could also signal the beginning of the country landing more official tennis events, rather than the lucrative exhibitions that have taken place there in the past. In recent years, the government has been spending millions of dollars to tempt many of the best players in the world, especially on the men’s side. In December, some of the biggest stars in the sport, including Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Aryna Sabalenka and Ons Jabeur, played an exhibition in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, and the country’s Public Investment Fund is currently bidding to host a top-level Masters tournament that would likely include both men and women as soon as 2026.

The WTA was founded half a century ago by Billie Jean King and eight other women committed to equality for women both on and off the court. With a proud history of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer champions, partnering with Saudi Arabia will, fairly or unfairly, surely garner a significant backlash from some of the sport’s biggest stars, such as the 18-time Grand Slam singles champions Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. For more than a year, leaders of the WTA Tour have tried to balance those sentiments with its needs to shore up its finances following the lean years of the Covid-19 pandemic and demands from players to receive the same prize money as the ATP Tour awards the men.

asian golf tour saudi arabia

Saudi Arabia’s tennis federation and the country’s sports ministry have committed to awarding $15.25million (£12m) at the WTA Finals in 2024, with further increases in 2025 and 2026. That prize money is $6.25million more than what the top women players received at the 2023 event in Cancun and is on par with what the men will receive at the 2024 ATP Finals in Turin, Italy. The Saudi contract is significantly shorter than previous deals the tour has signed with cities to host its premiere event, giving both sides the flexibility to move on relatively quickly if the tournament proves a poor fit.

“We do compete in many countries that certainly reflect different cultures and value systems,” said Steve Simon, the chief executive of the WTA Tour. “We certainly understand and respect that Saudi is something that provokes some very strong views.”

Simon said tour officials have spoken with Navratilova and Evert and understand their concerns, especially those involving women’s rights and LGBTQ+ rights. “We’re sensitive to those,” he said. “We do have assurances that everyone’s going to be welcome at the finals and I don’t anticipate anything more than positive experiences. We have assurances that everybody is welcome in the country to come and compete and work and do what needs to be done. They don’t judge anyone coming in. We’ve checked with past events that have happened within the region, such as other athletes that have been there, and they’ve only had positive experiences.”

Such assurances have never been enough for Navratilova, who in recent weeks has doubled down on her position that Saudi Arabia, despite some loosening, has not done nearly enough to put women on equal footing or to decriminalize homosexuality and allow freedom of speech and expression.

“Bigger change needs to happen first,” Navratilova said in an interview last month.

Current players, too, have voiced misgivings.

“Definitely don’t support the situation there,” Coco Gauff, the reigning U.S. Open women’s singles champion, said in January. “But I hope that if we do decide to go there, I hope that we’re able to make change and improve the quality there and engage in the local communities and make a difference.”

Coco Gauff

Simon said he had received assurances that there would be opportunities for players to meet and work with young female players and athletes within the region.

“Hosting the WTA Finals is absolutely huge for the future of tennis in Saudi Arabia and growing sport in general, especially amongst our young girls,” Arij Mutabagani, president of the Saudi Tennis Federation and the first elected female president of any Saudi Arabian sports federation, said in a statement. “That’s entirely our focus, to inspire future generations of players and celebrate women’s tennis. We want to help them to believe that they too belong on Centre Court, as seeing is believing. Through the tournament, we have the potential to power the dreams of millions of young people who are looking to a bright future and a world of new opportunities.”

There is no guarantee, though, that large numbers of people will ultimately see the competition. Saudi Arabia is hardly a top tourist destination. Also, television executives have for years complained about the devil’s bargain the WTA has made in collecting lucrative payments to bring its tournaments to countries where creating interest in tennis is still a work in progress. Players get plenty of prize money but play in front of half-empty stadiums, which makes the events look unappealing and small-time to the rest of the world.

There are no guarantees that fans will show up in Riyadh, but Simon said the Saudis were as “committed as we are to build and have good attendance for the event.”

That would play into another major focus for Saudi Arabia’s recent string of investments in sports — to shift its image and economy from one built largely around petroleum into that of a modern society with broad cultural and economic interests that is open to the world.

In soccer, Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) purchased the Premier League team Newcastle United in 2021 and some of the biggest names in soccer have moved to clubs in the Saudi Pro League, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. Saudi Arabia is also set to host the 2034 World Cup.

asian golf tour saudi arabia

In golf, Saudi Arabia pledged to spend $2billion on a new competition, LIV Golf — again attracting some of the sport’s biggest names to take part — and the country has become the home of elite boxing in recent years. Formula 1 has held races in the city of Jeddah since 2021 and there has also been considerable Saudi investment in Formula E. The country also hosted the ATP Tour’s Next Gen Finals — which pits the best young male tennis players against one another.

Saudi Arabia has passed a series of reforms in recent years aimed at making women a more substantial part of public life, including allowing them to drive, own businesses, and socialize in public with men. But it has maintained other restrictions. Women cannot marry without the permission of a male guardian and must obey their husbands if those men do not want to allow them to practice the rights the government has granted. The laws against homosexuality remain, as they do in other countries in the region. That has not prevented the WTA from holding tournaments in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Despite all that, the government and the WTA scored a major coup last June when Billie Jean King, who is gay and married to a woman, Ilana Kloss, threw her support behind the idea of the WTA holding its signature event in Saudi Arabia. King argued that engaging with countries that do not share the same beliefs is the only way to bring about change.

Beyond tennis, others have cited that argument in regards to western financial ties to China, Saudi Arabia and other countries that severely restrict basic human rights. However, especially in the case of China, crackdowns on human rights have worsened in recent years despite growing investment from the U.S. and other western nations. In addition, the policy of isolation and boycotts has a record of success. The international sports and entertainment industries largely boycotted South Africa through decades of apartheid. The country’s government finally abandoned it in the early 1990s amid worldwide pressure and a declining economy.

“We fully appreciate the importance of respecting diverse cultures and religions,” Evert and Navratilova wrote in an opinion piece in The Washington Post in January. “It is because of this, and not despite it, that we oppose the awarding of the tour’s crown jewel tournament to Riyadh. The WTA’s values sit in stark contrast to those of the proposed host.”

Sport, though, has since been largely unable to resist the largesse that such countries have offered and the WTA was no different. The tour has needed to find new investors and sources of cash for years, especially since Shenzhen, China, terminated its 10-year deal with the tour. That termination was in response to the tour’s decision to boycott the country for 18 months over China’s refusal to investigate whether a former top government official had sexually assaulted the former doubles player Peng Shuai.

asian golf tour saudi arabia

The WTA has been reeling since the pandemic hit in 2020 when its players competed for months in largely empty stadiums. Last year, it sold a 20 per cent stake in its business to CVC Capital Partners, the Luxembourg-based private equity firm, for $150million. The last-minute scramble last fall to hold the WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico, outdoors during the rainy season, turned out to be disastrous. Players complained of a shoddy and unsafe court. The stands were largely empty through much of the week.

Most players initially expressed varying degrees of resistance or ambivalence to going to Saudi Arabia. In June, Sloane Stephens, a former member of the Player Council, said players needed to be certain that everyone would feel safe and the tour had yet to ensure them that was the case.

In recent months though, players have spoken about Saudi’s involvement in the sport as inevitable. They have adopted King’s line about being a part of the process of pushing for changes that can make the lives of the current generation of girls in Saudi Arabia different from those women who came before them. To generate more enthusiastic support, the WTA in recent weeks has facilitated discussions among top players and prominent women from the region, who explained how the event could fit in with the larger dynamics of a changing world.

“We’ve had some of those conversations with the leading women within the region and the players who have shared their experience and shared the significant changes that are happening and have made some suggestions that are being worked on right now,” Simon said. “I believe we’ll have a very comprehensive program.”

(Top photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for WTA)

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Matthew Futterman

Matthew Futterman is an award-winning veteran sports journalist and the author of two books, “Running to the Edge: A Band of Misfits and the Guru Who Unlocked the Secrets of Speed” and “Players: How Sports Became a Business.”Before coming to The Athletic in 2023, he worked for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Star-Ledger of New Jersey and The Philadelphia Inquirer. He is currently writing a book about tennis, "The Cruelest Game: Agony, Ecstasy and Near Death Experiences on the Pro Tennis Tour," to be published by Doubleday in 2026. Follow Matthew on Twitter @ mattfutterman

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Tyrrell Hatton's LIV Golf move helped by Jon Rahm's switch to Saudi Arabia-funded circuit

Tyrrell Hatton says working out whether to move to the LIV Golf League was so difficult he wished he could have had someone else make the decision for him.

The 32-year-old Englishman, who has been a mainstay of the past three European Ryder Cup teams, followed team-mate Jon Rahm to the Saudi Arabia-funded breakaway circuit last February.

Hatton plays the Masters next week knowing that his performances in this year's majors will be vital to his long-term chances of continuing to play the four biggest tournaments in the men's calendar.

The Buckinghamshire star agreed his reported £50m move after agonising over the decision during January's Dubai Desert Classic.

It was only at the last moment he opted to fly to Mexico for LIV's 2024 opening tournament rather than that week's PGA Tour stop at Pebble Beach.

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Saudi sports minister says claims of 'sportswashing' against the country are "very shallow"

"This all came about over the weekend of Dubai," Hatton told BBC Sport. "The following week was a pretty stressful one. I almost wanted a crystal ball to know what the right decision would be.

"I spoke to so many people in that week, almost to the point of wanting to have someone to make the decision for me. It was hard. You don't know what's the right decision.

"I knew that if I stayed and played PGA Tour, if I play how I have been for the past seven, eight years then I should stay within the top 50 and give myself the best chance of making the Ryder Cup and playing in all the majors and that's what I want to do."

Hatton says the lure of becoming part of Masters champion Rahm's newly formed Legion XIII team was pivotal to his decision. They had forged a successful partnership in Italy at last September's Ryder Cup victory, winning both of their foursomes matches.

"We obviously get on very well and we had a good record in Rome," said Hatton. "So, there were certain things with LIV that I really liked. But, as I say, it was going into the unknown and not sure if it would be the right thing.

"But so far I'm happy and ultimately that's the most important thing."

And he claims that money was not the prime motive behind his move. "Everyone knows that side of it," Hatton said. "Yeah, it's nice but ultimately it's not everything.

"I like that idea of being part of a team, I like the schedule and not in the sense of playing less. That's not my goal whatsoever. I like the fact that we're going to different places around the world."

But he also knows there is plenty of jeopardy involved in making the move to a circuit where he has finished in shares of eighth, 12th, 15th and 21st in his four appearances to date.

"It's taking that risk but its something I was excited by and ultimately decided that was the route I was going to go down," Hatton added.

With the PGA Tour re-engaged in talks with Saudi Arabia 's Public Investment Fund, he admits his conclusion to move could have been even harder to make.

"I think the talk of golf hopefully coming together made the decision marginally easier, but it was still a really difficult decision for me to make," he said.

The atmosphere is less hostile between the rival tours than it was when Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia departed at the start of LIV's first season in 2022. "It's definitely softened," Hatton said.

"Some of the lads described themselves as looking like Swiss cheese with all the holes that they'd had taken out of them for the abuse that they received.

"Unfortunately social media isn't the nicest of places. I actually deleted my social media because I knew that there was going to be negativity.

"I just didn't want any of that judgement and negativity in front of me. So I deleted that and it's been quite nice actually."

Hatton says the biggest drawback to playing LIV's 54-hole shotgun starts is the fact that rounds can start at any part of the course.

"My routine I've always been walking onto the tee two or three minutes before we're due to go and you keep that rhythm from the range," he said. "Sometimes you have to leave 20 minutes before the shotgun start."

But the biggest downside is undoubtedly the loss of a regular source of world ranking points, the currency he requires to maintain major status. This year he is eligible for the full set; the Masters, US PGA, US Open and Open Championship.

"It's hard," he admitted. "I have to earn 20-25 world ranking points this year to be in all four majors next year. That's the equivalent of finishing fifth on your own in a major.

"It's doable and it would be nice if I could have a really good week next week at the Masters - although that's been challenging for me over my previous seven visits."

A winner of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and the Alfred Dunhill Links at St Andrews, Hatton still wants to play European Tour events. Moving to LIV makes that more difficult unless fines and suspensions are lifted as punishments for tour members who compete in its events.

"While I understand it makes it a little bit more difficult there's still kind of a pathway to play DP World Tour events unlike the PGA Tour where we've been suspended," Hatton said.

He is also keen to retain his place in Europe's Ryder Cup team and has spoken to captain Luke Donald to remind him of this ambition.

But that is a long-term goal. More immediately he plays this week's LIV event here at Donald Trump's Doral resort near Miami. And then it is the Masters next week where 2018's share of 18th place is his only top 20.

This year's quest for a Green Jacket, given the decision he agonised over earlier this year, would seem to carry more pressure than ever before but while it sounds like a deflection tactic, he is trying to play down such significance.

"The majors on paper are going to have more emphasis than there has been in previous years," he said. "But I'm not really looking at it like that. There's no reason why I can't go and have a great week."

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asian golf tour saudi arabia

PGA Tour's Monahan describes 'constructive' meeting with Saudi leader of LIV Golf

P ALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — The PGA Tour took a first step in sparking negotiations with Saudi Arabia's national wealth fund with a meeting in the Bahamas that Commissioner Jay Monahan described as “constructive” without offering many more details.

In a memo late Monday night to players, Monahan said the player directors on the PGA Tour Enterprises board met with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Public Investment Fund that provides the money behind rival LIV Golf.

It was the first time player directors, including Tiger Woods, met with Al-Rumayyan. Woods played nine holes with him at Albany Golf Club, according to a person informed of the meeting who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the day.

The other player directors are Patrick Cantlay, Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth, Webb Simpson and Peter Malnati. Golfweek first reported the meeting was likely to take place Monday in Ponte Vedra Beach. It shifted to the Bahamas, where Woods often keeps his yacht.

“The conversation throughout was constructive and represents an important part of our due diligence process in selecting potential investors for PGA Tour Enterprises,” Monahan said in the memo. “This mirrors the approach we employed earlier this year as we evaluated an investment offer from the Strategic Sports Group.”

The PGA Tour, European tour and PIF reached an agreement announced June 6 to form a commercial partnership. The deal was to be finalized by the end of 2023. But amid government inquiries, and interest from private equity groups, the deal wasn't done.

The PGA Tour selected SSG, a consortium of U.S. sports owners, in December. A month later, SSG pledged an initial $1.5 billion investment , which could increase to $3 billion. The next step is getting PIF as a minority investor or risk more players defecting to LIV Golf.

As the tour was negotiating with U.S. private equity, LIV Golf lured Masters champion Jon Rahm , along with Tyrrell Hatton, in a move that took more big names away from the PGA Tour and further splintered the golf landscape.

“During the session, Yasir had the chance to introduce himself to our player directors and talk through his vision, priorities and motivations for investing in professional golf,” Monahan said.

He told players he would keep them updated as much as possible, “but please understand that we need to maintain our position of not conducting negotiations in public.”

Malnati had said over the weekend there was “massive resistance” to Saudi involvement because of the surprise June 6 announcement — Monahan, board members Ed Herlihy and Jimmy Dunne were the only ones involved.

“As I’ve learned more, I think I understand better and I’m very open-minded to learning what involvement they want, what they want out of this and how they think they can help,” Malnati said. “On the surface, I think there are players who have resistance to that relationship, for sure. So that’s why I do think it’s important that maybe our next step is to meet at some point.”

Cantlay said without PIF investing in PGA Tour Enterprises, he could see golf going down a path of two rival leagues whose top players meet only four times a year at the majors.

Rory McIlroy is no longer on the board, giving up his seat in November and since being replaced by Spieth. He is among those who have met with Al-Rumayyan. McIlroy had said on a British soccer podcast at the start of the year that he returned from his visit and encouraged the tour to meet with the Saudi leader behind LIV Golf.

“I don’t think this is an overnight solution,” McIlroy said. “But if we can get the investment in, then at least we can start working towards a compromise where we’re not going to make everyone happy, but at least make everyone understand why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

AP golf:

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan speaks during the second round of The Players Championship golf tournament Friday, March 15, 2024, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)


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