What Is The MENA Tour?

The little-known Tour has been thrust into the spotlight thanks to its strategic alliance with LIV Golf, but what is it?

Callum Shinkwin poses with Lee Westwood after he secured one of the three qualifying places during the 2019 MENA Tour Omega Dubai Desert Classic ShootOut qualifying event
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Thanks to a strategic alliance with the MENA Tour, LIV Golf is confident it will finally be able to offer its players Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. However, as the MENA Tour has a considerably lower profile than LIV Golf, many may wonder what role it plays in the game’s ecosystem. 

The MENA Tour is a developmental tour that has had OWGR status since 2016, hence the link-up with LIV Golf, which has been pursuing a similar status since its first tournament in June. The Tour can award three OWGR points for its 54-hole tournaments and five for 72-hole tournaments.

MENA, which is an acronym for Middle East and North Africa, was established in 2011 by Dubai organisation Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation. The Tour hosts 54-hole events across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. Five years after it launched, it announced an affiliation with the Sunshine Tour that saw the top five players in MENA’s Order of Merit earn tour cards to it for the following season. Additionally, players finishing between sixth and 15th were entered into the final stages of the Sunshine Tour’s Q School. 

That arrangement held for 2016 and 2017. However, in 2018, the MENA Tour was cancelled, only to return the year after with a 10-tournament season. The outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020 meant only half its proposed 10 tournaments were played in that year, while there were none in 2021. Before the MENA Tour finally returned in May 2022, it entered a strategic partnership with the Asian Development Tour (ADT), and the first results of that were seen with a four-series event, the Beautiful Thailand Swing, in Phuket, co-sanctioned with the ADT. Those tournaments finally concluded the MENA Tour’s Covid-affected 2020 Order of Merit, the Journey to Jordan. 

Following the final event, the Blue Canyon Open, Money List winner Tom Sloman was invited to take part in two ADT tournaments and an International Series event and handed an exemption to the final stage of Asian Tour Q School for 2023. The top 10 Order of Merit players on the MENA Tour also received invites to two ADT events, which means a chance of promotion to the Asian Tour. Meanwhile, they also receive exemptions to the final stage of Asian Tour Q School for 2023.

While the MENA Tour may have fallen under the radar for many, that’s certainly not the case now following the announcement of its strategic alliance with LIV Golf and the co-sanctioning of the LIV Golf Bangkok tournament. Thanks to that, all LIV Golf players will now join the MENA Tour and, according to the Tour’s announcement, immediately qualify” for OWGR points. 

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.