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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - JEDDAH: Five-time PGA Tour winner Kevin Na, who won the PGA Tour’s Sony Open in Hawaii on Sunday, is the latest US star to enter the 2021 Saudi International at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club from Feb. 4-7.
The third edition of the Saudi International powered by Softbank Investment Advisers sees the strongest field gathered in the Kingdom to date, with a healthy serving of world-ranking points on offer sealing its position as the strongest event on the Middle East swing. In addition to the World No.1, there are 13 Major winners in the field, 29 Ryder Cup stars with 90 appearances and, collectively, the field has won more than 900 international titles between them.
Na is making his first trip to Saudi Arabia, having played only a handful of European Tour events over the past decade, with his last appearance in 2015. He joins a stellar list of American players flocking to the Kingdom, including World No. 1 and 2020 Masters Champion Dustin Johnson, 2020 US Open Champion Bryson DeChambeau, five-time Major winner Phil Mickelson, 2018 Masters Champion Patrick Reed and World No. 18 Tony Finau.
“The more I heard about the player field for the Saudi International powered by Softbank Investment Advisers, the more I felt like I didn’t want to miss out,” Na said. “The depth and strength of the field in Saudi is what really appealed to me. I haven’t played in many European Tour events in recent years so I am really looking forward to getting back out there and visiting Saudi Arabia for the first time.”
The US players will have their work cut out to become the second American to win the Saudi International (Johnson in 2019 was the first) as they face a star-studded European contingent that includes Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Tyrrell Hatton, Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood, Bernd Wiesberger and Danny Willett, along with defending Champion Graeme McDowell.
With a lineup that looks set to ensure that the third edition of the Saudi International will not only be its best but also one of the strongest events on the 2021 European Tour schedule, golf is well and truly establishing itself within the Kingdom. Following two successful weeks of Ladies European Tour events late last year, Golf Saudi is looking to build on recent momentum and continue to leverage the country’s burgeoning interest in the sport by prioritising a series of ambitious mass-participation programs to grow the game for future generations.
The tournament has grown along with a list of premium-brand partners helping to bring world-class golf to the Kingdom. The tournament partners this year will be SoftBank Investment Advisers, the Ministry of Sport, the Public Investment Fund, King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), Saudi Aramco, SAMBA, Saudia, Invest Saudi, Sky Prime, GIB, STC, Rolex, Saudi Cargo, Saddik & Mohamed Attar, UMA Premium, Mix FM, Nova, Adidas, Al Laith, Luxury Carts, Reza Hygiene and Royal Greens Golf and Country Club.
Majed Al-Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi, said: “As entries are finalized for our third Saudi International powered by Softbank Investment Advisers, we are very happy with our lineup of international star players as we are stronger in strength and depth than we have ever been. Our vision is to grow golf across the Kingdom and make it both accessible and enjoyable to all Saudis.”
So hosting prestigious tournaments such as these demonstrates that we are able to host the world’s best players as a means of inspiring the next generation of young Saudis and Saudi golfers.
“We are also delighted to have such strong support from all our event sponsors who share our vision in ensuring this tournament is one of the strongest events on the European Tour Schedule. Thanks to the support of our partners, we are able to continue to support golf development in the Kingdom, while helping to support their work showcasing Saudi Arabia as a destination for international business development,” he said.
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