European Tour stars add to top-class Saudi lineup
With World No.1 and newly-crowned Masters champion, Dustin Johnson and US Open winner, Bryson DeChambeau, already confirmed for the 2021 Saudi International, the tournament was already off to a great start.
And now a slew of European Tour stars including Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Tyrrell Hatton, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Paul Casey, will join the lineup in what is shaping up to be a mini Ryder Cup in the making.
Tommy Fleetwood (Credit: European Tour)
Teaming up with Johnson and DeChambeau at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club will be fellow Americans Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson along with reigning Open Champion Shane Lowry.
The Europeans are keen to get an early jump on Ryder Cup ranking points following a 2020 Tour schedule that was decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The previous qualifying process was frozen back in July when the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits was postponed until September 2021 but will resume on January 1st 2021.
“With Ryder Cup qualification on the line, I am obviously looking to get my campaign off to a fast start and getting a decent finish or winning the Saudi International against such a stellar field would be massive,” said Poulter.
“It’s been a really weird year with COVID so we are all looking forward to a fresh start in 2021 and I am hoping it is also a strong start as I keep my eyes firmly focused on qualifying for the European team at Whistling Straits.”
Despite some well-earned criticism, the Kingdom continues to expand its golfing opportunities with back-to-back Ladies European Tour tournaments recently wrapping up at the very same course in King Abdullah Economic City on the Red Sea. With almost endless cash reserves and plenty of sunshine, the country is a perfect fit for the European Tour as it looks to diversify its offerings outside of Europe.
It’s close neighbour, the United Arab Emirates, has long been home to a handful of top-shelf events with the Dubai Desert Classic dating back to the late 1980’s. The season-ending DP World Tour Championship has been held in Dubai since 2009 while the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship debuted in 2006.
The Saudi International tees off at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club from February 4th to 7th 2021.