Mickelson, Finau add star power to Saudi International

December 02, 2019

JEDDAH — Five-time Major Champion Phil Mickelson will tee it up alongside compatriot and fellow American Ryder Cup star Tony Finau when the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers gets under way at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2.

The pair are the latest high-profile Americans to join an already world-class field and will journey to King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) to compete for a prize fund of $3.5m with defending Champion Dustin Johnson, World No. 1 Brooks Koepka and Masters winner Patrick Reed.

They will also face stiff competition from a host of European Major winners, including Open Champions Henrik Stenson (2016) and Shane Lowry (2019), plus 2017 Masters winner Sergio Garcia.

Mickelson, affectionately known as ‘Lefty’ and a winner of 51 worldwide titles, has enjoyed a number of high-profile finishes in the Middle East but, despite 10 career European Tour victories, is still in search of a maiden win in the region.

“I am really looking forward to playing in Saudi Arabia in January,” said Mickelson, who spent more than 25 years in the world’s top 50. “I watched Dustin win the title last year and thought the course looked like an interesting challenge. Having so many talented players on show also made it look like a much more established tournament than one in its inaugural year. I have enjoyed my previous visits to the Middle East and am looking forward to playing in a new country and doing my bit to grow the game in the Kingdom.”

Ranked firmly inside the top 20 of the Official World Golf Rankings, the big hitting American Tony Finau, adds to the star studded line-up, as the 30 year-old looks for a maiden European Tour title on his first visit to the region.

“I’ve always believed that to be considered a world-class player, you must compete in premier tournaments around the world,” said Finau, who made his Ryder Cup debut in 2018. “Playing in Saudi Arabia for the first time will be a great experience, and I’m looking forward to competing against what is already an exceptionally strong field, on what I have learned is a great golf course.”

Royal Greens Golf & Country Club lies along the spectacular Red Sea coastline and is set alongside a series of stunning residential and recreational facilities. The club not only boasts a championship golf course and world-class practice facilities, but a state-of-the-art clubhouse which was recently voted the ‘World’s Best Golf Clubhouse 2019’ and ‘Best Course in Saudi 2019’ by the World Golf Awards.

Yasir Al-Rumayyan, chairman of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi, said: “We are excited to add two more world-class players to our tournament and are firmly on track to deliver another successful championship in the Kingdom. Phil Mickelson has been at the top of the sport for more than 25 years and it will be fantastic for the people of Saudi Arabia to watch him play up close, while Tony Finau will no doubt wow the crowds with his incredible power hitting and skill. Both will be a fantastic advert for golf, and I look forward to them both helping us drive the game forward in Saudi Arabia.”

The second instalment of the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers will place a special focus on families, community, charity and junior development as the Kingdom looks to develop its golfing pedigree, in addition to a unique entertainment offering in the heart of KAEC.

“Bringing the world’s best golfers to experience what is KAEC has to offer is an exciting proposition for us,” said Ahmed Linjawy, Group CEO of KAEC. “We are therefore delighted to be hosting two more first class players at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, a multi award winning development and the proud jewel of King Abdullah Economic City. Our goal is to establish ourselves as one of the region’s leading and most attractive tourism & leisure destinations on the Red Sea in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and the profile this event attracts will speak for the quality of our experiences & offerings.”

Partner support as the tournament heads into its second year remains as strong as ever with SoftBank Investment Advisers, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Rolex, Saddik & Mohamed Attar, Saudi Cargo and Invest Saudi all committing to the championship for another year, with Samba joining for 2020.

Enjoy the Ultimate Day Out for golf fans, friends and families with tickets now on sale, priced at SR50 per day or SR160 for a full tournament pass (four days). Exclusive concert tickets are coming soon. — SG

December 02, 2019
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