Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 1 December 2020

Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose among major winners confirmed for 2021 Saudi International

Latest players added to lineup already comprising world No 1 Johnson and US Open champion DeChambeau

Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson returns to the Saudi International after appearing at the tournament earlier this year. EPA
Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson returns to the Saudi International after appearing at the tournament earlier this year. EPA

Major champions Shane Lowry, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson have added their names to next year’s Saudi International powered by Softbank Investment Advisers.

The six players join another three major winners already confirmed for the February 4-7 event at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, with world No 1 Dustin Johnson, 2020 US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and Graeme McDowell, who won earlier this year in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), confirmed last week.

Lowry, the 2019 Open champion, is one of a host of players seeking to get out of the blocks quickly next season, especially given it is a Ryder Cup year.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Irishman, who is yet to feature in the event for Europe, said: “I really do want to get off to a fast start in 2021 and try and secure my place in the team early if possible. I can’t imagine how stressful it will be if I am outside qualifying for the team as we get closer to the final qualifying events.

“The Saudi International is going to be huge week for us all in terms of the mega strength of field and world ranking points available with so many of the world’s top-ranked playing, so a decent finish is going to make a major impact on our qualification chances.”

Fellow Europeans Rose, Stenson and Garcia – winners respectively of the 2013 US Open, 2016 Open, 2017 Masters – will have the rescheduled clash with the United States in Wisconsin on their minds also.

Meanwhile, five-time major champion Mickelson and 2018 Masters winner Reed are returning to Saudi after competing alongside one another earlier this year. A regular on the European Tour, Reed has played the opening two editions of the event, and on both occasions visited a local academy in KAEC.

“This is my third time playing in the Saudi International and I am genuinely excited to return to see all the kids at The World Academy and find out how they are getting on with their golf,” he said.

Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters champion, says he's looking forward to revisiting the The World Academy. AFP
Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters champion, says he's looking forward to revisiting the The World Academy. AFP

“They have been so generous in their welcome and support in previous years and I look forward to seeing how everything is progressing as Golf Saudi works so hard to grow the game and provide the children with so many inspiring golf opportunities.”

Majed Al Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi, added: “This is another fantastic group of world-class names to announce and we are delighted to be able to play a part in helping illustrate that Saudi Arabia is open and able to host important sporting events.

“I also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank all of our partners and sponsors, as we work together towards the goal of making our tournament amongst the world’s best. We still have many more star names to announce and look forward to continuing to share our field additions in the coming weeks.”

Next February’s event brings to a close a busy period for professional golf in Saudi, with the kingdom hosting two debut ladies’ events this month: next week’s Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF, and the Saudi Ladies Team International the following week.

Updated: November 4, 2020 02:57 PM

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