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Greg Norman has hailed the rebels who have risked the wrath of the PGA and DP World Tours by committing to play in next year’s Saudi International.

Organisers of the event yesterday confirmed the names of the first 25 players who will play in the tournament in February.

They include Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Phil Mickelson, as well as several members of the 2021 European Ryder Cup team.

Struck from the DP World Tour schedule amidst the ongoing power-struggle currently gripping the men’s game, the Saudi International is scheduled to take place at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, near Jeddah, from February 3-6.

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That places it directly opposite a new European Tour event, the Ras al Khaimah Championship, scheduled to take place in the UAE the same week.

It is strongly suspected – albeit so far unconfirmed – that it will form part of a new-look Asian Tour schedule which has been bolstered by Greg Norman’s new LIV Golf Investments venture, itself part-funded by Saudi Arabian cash.

It has been reported that players who take part in the tournament could face sanctions from their ‘home’ tours.

However, in a memo sent to all of the players who have confirmed their participation in the Saudi International, which has been obtained by Australian Golf Digest, Norman lauded the ‘rebel’ players for standing up to what he called “anticompetitive threats”.

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“I want to share my undivided support and endorsement for the stance taken in announcing your participation in the Saudi International,” he wrote.

“You are standing up for your rights, as professional athletes, and for what is right and best for the global development of the sport of golf.

you may not be aware, this has been a long-standing issue for the
world’s best players – seeking the ability to play as far and as wide as
they choose to
their value, without threat of penalty or otherwise – and today is a
positive and important step in changing the way in which professional
bodies should reduce controls that limit the game’s ability to flourish
at a truly global level.  

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“Without this change, you will never realise
your individual and collective value, or elevate the game to the levels
it deserves. Simply put, the anticompetitive threats and actions these
professional bodies have taken are designed to prevent fair competition,
limit the game’s growth, and harm your ability to
realise your true value.

wanted to reach out directly to share the respect I have for you and
the strength of your actions, and also to voice the level of support you
have from so many sectors of the industry, who are greatly encouraged
by your leadership and the new horizons in golf’s future. “

Contacted by
yesterday, the European Tour declined to comment on what sanctions – if
any – its member players might face for playing in the Saudi

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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