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There has been a huge amount of secrecy surrounding the breakaway Saudi Golf League, with multiple players signing non-disclosure agreements, reports of eye-watering amounts of money being offered to individuals and, according to Phil Mickelson, "pretty much" everyone in the world's top 100 being contacted by the SGL.
However, in a tweet by Alan Shipnuck, could this be the first notable sign of when announcements will be made regarding the breakaway League?
In the tweet, the former Sports Illustrated journalist wrote that: "A very prominent Tour agent tells me the Saudi plan has always been to announce once they have signed 20 players…and they just got to 20. A formal kick-off is now expected the week of the Players, the PGA Tour’s flagship event."
Earlier this week, PGA Tour player, Kramer Hickok, revealed on the Stripe Show podcast that he thinks 17 golfers have already "jumped over" to the rumoured Saudi-backed Super League. So, with the alleged number being 20, it is possible an announcement will be made at The Players Championship, which gets underway on the 10th of March.
A very prominent Tour agent tells me the Saudi plan has always been to announce once they have signed 20 players…and they just got to 20. A formal kick-off is now expected the week of the Players, the PGA Tour’s flagship event. I respect the bitchiness.February 17, 2022
Due to the very real threat of the SGL, the DP and PGA Tours have threatened to impose bans on those that join the breakaway League. However, it won't seem to affect players when it comes to the biggest events of the year.
When asked on Twitter: "What will the Major Championships do?" Shipnuck simply responded: "Absolutely nothing," going on to tweet: "The Saudi Golf League will fly under the flag of the Asian Tour, which is reputable and, more to the point, gives out World Ranking points. The SGL will be an easy way to play your way into the Top 50…and thus get invited to every major."
According to the Daily Mail, the Saudis are luring golf's leading stars by offering shares of a gigantic £1.5 billion pot, with five 'future Ryder Cup captains' allegedly sitting on £20 million signing-on proposals.
We do know that Lee Westwood has signed an NDA, and that Ian Poulter has reportedly been offered up to $30m to join the breakaway League. Just recently, renowned instructor, Jim McClean, revealed that a source told him Bryson DeChambeau is one of the players moving, with the American reportedly offered $240 million to be the face of SGL.
At a Genesis Invitational press conference on Wednesday, Adam Scott became the most recent player to give praise to the SGL, revealing that: "The schedule is very appealing" and that "like everyone else, we're sworn to secrecy (regarding the league)."
Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
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