Graeme McDowell Predicts Big Future For Asian Tour As Pros Chase 'Golden Ticket'

Northern Ireland and LIV pro McDowell played in England this week on the Asian Tour and explained why he thinks its International Series will continue to expand

Graeme McDowell in recent action in the LIV Golf Series
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Graeme McDowell reckons his taste of playing on the Asian Tour has convinced him it has a huge future after linking up with LIV Golf. 

McDowell has been at Close House in England this week as part of the Asian Tour's International Series following a $400million investment from LIV Golf which has helped finance 10 tournaments this year with $19m up for grabs across the 2023 schedule.

It follows close ties between LIV and the Far East operation which embraced players when they were initially banished from playing on the established PGA TOUR and DP World Tour for signing on with the breakaway Saudi-backed venture. The PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV's paymasters in the Saudi Public Investment Fund have since announced a partnership to work together but McDowell is convinced players will still look to the Asian Tour to progress their careers.

McDowell , 44, assessed: "LIV is very much on the radar for these players. We are playing golf in a special time, and obviously, the Asian Tour members have that opportunity for these guys. It is like a golden ticket. It gives them something to play hard for.

"I feel fortunate to be out there. I'm really happy to watch the Asian Tour go from strength-to-strength, because this is just the beginning.  I think we're just starting to scratch the surface of where The International Series can go, where the Asian Tour can go, how big it can be, and how many great players can we get to the Asian Tour, and how many LIV Golf players will continue supporting these International Series events.

"PIF and LIV are very energetic about what they can do with the Asian Tour but it has to evolve. It has its schedule,  sponsors and traditional venues, and it's great to be able to have all these opportunities, but it takes time to integrate those into the schedule. 

"As word gets round, guys are coming over to play and enjoying it. Speaking personally, for myself, I do want to supplement my schedule - 14 is not enough for me. If I'm not in the Majors, I need another six or eight other events, and the Asian Tour is my opportunity now."

Close House is the fifth stop in the Asian Tour's International Series which next week heads to Scotland for the St Andrews Bay Championship but McDowell cannot make it as he explained. 

Graeme McDowell

Graeme McDowell is a former European Ryder Cup player and 2010 US Open champion

(Image credit: Getty Images)

He added: "I'm super happy to be able to come to England. Scotland next week would be a great opportunity if I could play. Then, I am scheduled to play Singapore, Hong Kong, and Indonesia this year.

"My little brother is actually in Orlando with his family right now so that's the reason why I'm not going to play Fairmont [St Andrews] next week. I don't get home as much as I used to. In summer 2020 we were planning to bring the kids back home but just like everyone else's life, things got messed up there for a few years. 

"In Florida I will be able to spend a lot of time with my brother and his kids because I haven't really seen very much of them at all. It was bad scheduling on our part - when these two events got announced that was a disaster because I could only play one of them."

James Nursey

James Nursey is a freelance contributor to Golf Monthly after spending over 20 years as a sports reporter in newspapers. During a 17-year career with the Daily Mirror, he covered mainly football but reported from The Open annually and also covered a Ryder Cup and three US Opens. He counts a pre-tournament exclusive with Justin Rose at Merion in 2013 as one of his most memorable as the Englishman went on to win his first Major and later repeated much of the interview in his winner’s speech.  Now, after choosing to leave full-time work in newspapers, James, who is a keen single-figure player, is writing about golf more.  His favourite track is the Old Course after attending St Andrews University but has since played mainly at Edgbaston, where he is a member. James’ golfing highlights include a hole-in-one and previously winning the club championship and scratch knock-out at Edgbaston. He is also an active member of the Association of Golf Writers and Press Golfing Society, for whom he has represented in matches. But he is just as happy hitting balls or playing the odd hole with his young daughter at their local club Shrewsbury.

James is currently playing: 
Driver: Ping G400
3 wood: Ping i20
Hybrid: Ping i20
Irons: Ping i500 4-SW
Wedges: Ping Glide forged 50, 56
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour
Ball: Titleist ProVIx