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On the 1st February at the Saudi International, LIV Golf Investments, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund-backed company headed by Greg Norman, along with the Asian Tour, unveiled details of 'The International Series' for 2022/23 (opens in new tab), which features 10 tournaments across Asia and Europe.
The initial idea, which was first announced in November (opens in new tab), sees a $300 million investment over 10 years. Debuting at Black Mountain Golf Club in Thailand, the first International Series event will see a $1.5 million purse before moving to the Centurion Club (opens in new tab) in Hertfordshire, where a $2m prize fund is up for grabs. There will then be further stops in Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Middle East, China, Singapore and Hong Kong.
So, what do we know about the International Series? Well, we know that it is backed by a huge $300million investment from LIV Golf Investments, with Greg Norman (opens in new tab) as its CEO. The majority shareholder is the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund [PIF].
Cho Minn Thant (opens in new tab), who is the Commissioner and CEO of the Asian Tour, stated that: “We are on the threshold of a new era for Asian golf. The International Series is a new upper-tier of elite events, the likes of which the region has not seen before. That will mark the start of a phenomenal period of growth for the Asian Tour. It also signifies the beginning of our relationship with our new strategic partner, LIV Golf Investments and its CEO, Greg Norman.
“Importantly, The International Series will add to the Asian Tour’s backbone of established events to comprise a 25-event season, expected to represent a record-breaking combined prize-fund. Each of the 10 events will be broadcast live across the globe, with plans to attract an international field of headline talent.”
Former world number one, Greg Norman (opens in new tab) added: “We are setting the Asian Tour up as a powerful new force on the world golf stage. In my 40 years as a professional golfer, I’ve seen many parts of the world that have benefitted tremendously from golf and its growth and development.
"We now have the opportunity to do that in the Asia Pacific region and the Middle East with this incredible investment platform. Everyone benefits – professional players, amateurs, grassroots golf, fans, economies, communities, stakeholders. I’ve never been so optimistic about the future of the sport.”
The initial idea for the International Series was first announced in November, with the actual announcement happening on the eve of the Asian Tour’s new season and the controversial $5million Saudi International (opens in new tab) at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club. Currently, there are also ongoing rumours that LIV Golf Investments are pioneering a Saudi-backed Super League (opens in new tab) that is headhunting the worlds’ top players.
For now though, the International Series will form part of the Asian Tour schedule over the next decade, meaning that the Tour will comprise a 25-event season, with the newly-formed LIV Golf Investments' purpose to 'holistically improve the health of professional golf on a truly global scale to help unlock the sports untapped worldwide potential.'
Kicking off in Thailand on the 3rd - 6th March at Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin, the International Series then moves to the Centurion Club (opens in new tab) near London for the second event, which gets underway on the 9th - 12th June.
After the Centurion Club, the second half of the year will see stops in Korea, Vietnam, and Indonesia before heading to the Middle East and then culminating in China, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Dates for these events will be released in due course.
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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