Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: With a line-up that ensures the Saudi International powered by Softbank Investment Advisers is one of the strongest events on the 2021 European Tour schedule, Golf Saudi is looking to build on the momentum resulting from hosting two extremely successful weeks of Ladies European Tour events last month as interest and participation in golf continues to grow in the Kingdom.
“We fully appreciate and endorse the strength and value the best players in the world create, and from the outset made it our mission to consistently attract the strongest fields for the Saudi International powered by Softbank Investment Advisers,” said Majed Al Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi, an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
He added: “2021 is another step on our journey of aligning Saudi Arabia with the highest-profile events in world golf. We continue to shine a light on our growing passion for the sport, but also the strategic measures being taken to ensure we develop a vibrant and sustainable golfing nation.
“Our partnership and relationship with professional golf and the world’s best players is a central tenant within our long-term investment plans. We can’t wait to welcome them to the Kingdom and to crown our third champion.”
Viktor Hovland and Tony Finau are the latest top ranked international stars to confirm their entry into the third edition of the Saudi International.
Hovland is a rising star of world golf. As of the end of 2020, the 23-year-old, was 14th in the Official World Golf Ranking following his second PGA Tour win this month.
Hailing from Norway, Hovland turned professional in 2019 having finished as low amateur in both the 2019 Masters and the 2019 US Open and having reached the pinnacle of the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
His transition into the professional ranks has been impressive and he will make his debut at Saudi Arabia’s Royal Greens Golf & Country Club from February 4-7 as he joins the ranks of Europeans hoping to secure their places for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.
Adding to the star-studded European contingent are Martin Kaymer, Matt Wallace, Bernd Wiesberger and Danny Willett while Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Tyrrell Hatton, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood and defending champion Graeme McDowell were announced last month.
Hovland said: “My first full year as a professional, even given all the Covid-related difficulties, has been amazing. I would never have dreamt that I would already have two PGA Tour titles and winning the Mayakoba Golf Classic was the perfect way to finish up the year. As a European, trying to get my first European Tour victory will be high on my agenda for 2021 and, of course, trying to win my place on the European Ryder Cup team.
“I’ve only played about six European Tour events in total so I am excited to add some into my schedule and the Saudi International powered by Softbank Investment Advisers has the most impressive field of players already confirmed so I think it’s going to be a huge week.”
US Ryder Cup star and world number 18 Finau joins a strong list of American players flocking to the Kingdom with world number one and 2020 Masters champion Dustin Johnson, 2020 US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, five-time Major winner Phil Mickelson and 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed already confirmed in the field.
Finau said: “I was unable to make my debut in 2020, so I’m really looking forward to being there alongside a world-class field in February. I’ve heard nothing but positive things from my fellow players about their experiences at the tournament and their visit to the Kingdom. It should be a great week and I am excited to go.”