This week, the Asian Tour hosts the Saudi International in Saudi Arabia. Lured by big entry fees, some high-profile players like Phil Mickelson and Xander Schauffele are competing at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club. Now the Asian Tour, funded by LIV Golf Investments, is announcing an international tournament series for 2022/23. A tournament will also be held in England.
Asian Tour tournament series starts in Thailand
The “International Series” consists of ten tournaments and will start in Thailand next March. In June, the tournament series will even move to England to the Centurion Club, which is located near London. The tournament series is financed by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund and is to receive a total subsidy of 300 million dollars from this fund. This info was announced by former world number one Greg Norman at the Saudi International this week, and he is also rumored to be the chairman for the “International Series.”
“International Series” in conflict with PGA and DP World Tour.
This week’s Saudi International and the accompanying high entry fees for participants already caused unrest on the other tours. While the DP World Tour finally allowed the participation for its members, the PGA Tour set up obligations to be met in case of participation. Thus, some well-known players, including players such as defending champion Dustin Johnson or Phil Mickelson will start in Saudi Arabia. The “International Series” could also cause conflicts between the professional tours. The tournament in England will take place just one week before the start of the US Open, which could possibly lead to preparation difficulties for participants should they wish to take part in both tournaments.
Plans for the future criticized
LIV Golf Investment is also behind the planned Saudi Super League. The $300 million partnership with the Asian Tour indicates that plans for this Super League are becoming more concrete, with the tournament series on the Asian Tour as a possible initial test run. Such a “Super League,” as well as participation in the Saudi Internationals, has been heavily criticized publicly because of Saudi Arabia’s very poor human rights record.