The PGA Tour has granted a "few" of its members conflicting-event releases to play in February’s Saudi International, according to a report by the Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard (opens in new tab).
The event, which used to feature on the DP World Tour schedule, is now part of the Asian Tour and is sponsored by Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF), the sovereign wealth fund that bankrolls the LIV Golf League.
But despite the ongoing quarrel between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour, Sawgrass HQ has decided to give a “few” of its members conflicting-event releases to tee it up at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, which has hosted the tournament since its inception in 2019.
The Tour official didn't reveal exactly how many release requests were accepted nor who received them but the event has attracted some of the game’s biggest stars in previous years, so 2023 will be no different. Reigning Open champion and World No. 3 Cameron Smith has already confirmed his attendance as the headline act, with tournament organisers insisting "more big-name players" will be in the field when it is finalised.
"The Saudi International regularly has one of the biggest line-ups of the season," Smith said. "It’s always good to play in a world-class field, I am looking forward to taking on some familiar faces and also competing with the best that the Asian Tour has to offer.
"I had a great experience at the Royal Greens last year and hopefully I can take it to the next level this year."
It's likely a number of players on the Saudi-backed circuit will use the event as a tune-up for the LIV Golf League that gets underway on February 24 at El Camaleon Golf Club in Mexico.
The Saudi International will be held from February 2-5 in King Abdullah Economic City and coincides with the PGA Tour's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
What's in Andy's bag?
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)
3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15°)
Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
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