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The Saudi Golf League has now recruited 20 top stars with a formal announcement to be made during the Players Championship, it is understood.

Former Sports Illustrated journalist Alan Shipnuck claimed on Twitter that he had spoken to a “very prominent” tour agent who revealed the organisers of the breakaway league would publicly confirm their plans once 20 players had signed up. 

Now they are believed to have reached that figure, and a formal unveiling of the new circuit is expected in the week of the PGA Tour’s flagship event, which gets under way on March 10.

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“A very prominent tour agent tells me the Saudi plan has always been to announce once they have signed 20 players…and they just got to 20,” Shipnuck wrote. 

“A formal kick-off is now expected the week of the Players, the PGA Tour’s flagship event.” 

Golfers who join the new league are facing the prospect of lifetime bans from the PGA and DP World tours, as well as the Ryder Cup. 

However, with vast sums of cash on offer, many players – particularly veterans, such as Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Phil Mickelson – are said to be keen, while Bryson DeChambeau has reportedly been offered $240 million to be the face of the venture. 

On Wednesday former Masters champion Adam Scott became the latest star to publicly declare his interest in the new circuit, describing it as “very appealing” – but he added he was “sworn to secrecy”. 

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“I think the schedule they’re proposing is very appealing to probably most golfers,”, he said.  

“You know, depending what your goals are in golf, I think the schedule is very appealing. From that side of things, I would consider doing that, for sure. From a lifestyle side of things, yes. 

“I think you can argue both sides of lots of things, but at the end of the day I think my general feeling on this at the moment is that it’s only a positive thing for professional golfers at the moment that there’s interest and money coming into the sport.” 

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