World No 15 Paul Casey and European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn also confirmed for January 31-February 3 European Tour event
Masters champion Patrick Reed and world No 1 Dustin Johnson to play in Saudi Arabia
World No 1 Dustin Johnson and freshly anointed Masters champion Patrick Reed have been confirmed for the European Tour’s new event in Saudi Arabia, which debuts early next year.
The Saudi Arabia Golf Federation announced on Saturday that the January 31-February 3 tournament will feature the American duo, together with world No 15 Paul Casey and 2018 European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn.
The event, which adds another stop to the early-season Desert Swing alongside the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, will take place at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club. The tournament name, prize fund, event partners and other details are set to be announced in the coming weeks.
“I'm excited to make my first trip to Saudi Arabia and support this historic new event,” said American Johnson, the world’s top-ranked golfer since February last year, in a statement. “It sounds like some amazing things are happening there, including big plans for junior and family golf development. It’s an honour to be part of Saudi Arabia’s golf journey from the onset.”
Johnson will be joined by compatriot Reed, the US Ryder Cup star who earlier this month triumphed at the Masters by a single stroke to capture his first major championship.
“It’s been a crazy few weeks since I won at Augusta and so much fun,” Reed said. “I had not, at this stage, finalised anything in my schedule for next year, but when I heard about the ambitious plans for golf in Saudi Arabia, I committed straight away.”
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Keith Pelley, the European Tour’s chief executive, was instrumental in the circuit adding to its calendar a first event Saudi Arabia. The tournament, the first in a three-year partnership, was announced in March and is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 initiative.
“We are delighted to have Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Paul Casey and Thomas Bjorn in the field for our first professional golf tournament in Saudi Arabia,” Pelley said. “Royal Greens Golf and Country Club is a spectacular venue, with world-class facilities, and our players are going to absolutely love playing there.
“We are a global tour and this is an exciting opportunity for us to play in a new country that has a strong focus on golf as part of its vision for the future.”
Yasir Al Rumayyan, chairman of the Saudi Golf Federation, added: “We have ambitious plans to accelerate golf development in the Kingdom, with a special focus on juniors and families, and this event will play a key role in our plans.
“The tournament will provide an important platform for us to showcase Saudi Arabia’s many assets to the world, from our golf courses and facilities, to our rich cultural heritage to our business credentials and our ever developing lifestyle and entertainment offerings.”