The PGA Tour has granted a small portion 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 feature when the field 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.