Could the Saudi International Series be coming to Scotland?

Greg Norman Turnberry

The people behind the Saudi-backed expansion of the Asian Tour have refused to rule out their new International Series coming to Scotland as golf’s global power struggle heats up.

Unveiled yesterday by LIV Golf Investments CEO Greg Norman, the International Series will comprise an initial ten events, with prize funds ranging from $1.5m to $2m, which will be incorporated into the 2022-23 Asian Tour schedule.

In addition to events in Thailand, Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia, as well as Hong Kong, China, Singapore and the Middle East, the series will also visit England. The Centurion Club in Hertfordshire will stage a tournament in early June.

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That has raised suspicions that the Series might soon try to corner a part of the ‘Home of Golf’ as it looks to strengthen its grip upon golf’s global marketplace.

A spokesperson for LIV Golf Investments was coy on that prospect when approached by bunkered.co.uk.

They told us: "We are looking at any and all great courses around the world to host our events, but are not able to get into the specifics per course at this time.”

One of the destinations rumoured to be in the frame to stage an International Series event – or, indeed, form part of the much-touted but as-yet-unconfirmed Golf Super League – is Turnberry.

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Former world No.1 Norman has a long-standing affinity with the Ayrshire resort. The winner of The Open there in 1986, the Australian has previously told bunkered.co.uk how he was invited to draw up plans for a redesign of the Ailsa Course by its former owners, the Dubai-based Leisurecorp, before the Trump Organisation took it over in 2014.

In championship-terms, Turnberry is currently something of a free agent.

The R&A dropped it from the Open rota in January 2021 following the US Capitol riots, which its owner, the former American president Donald Trump, was accused of inciting.

Martin Slumbers, the chief executive of the R&A, said that the organisation would not take any of its championship back there “until we are convinced that the focus will be on the championship, the players and the course itself and we do not believe that is achievable in the current circumstances."

That, conceivably, leaves the door ajar for another organisation or tour to step in – and Greg Norman, with his pre-existing links to the resort, would seem most likely.

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