The field for the Saudi International looks incredibly strong, with the world's top three all playing

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Inaugural Saudi International Set For Huge Field

Saudi Arabia hosts its first ever professional golf tournament later this month with the European Tour’s Saudi International.

The country has come under criticism in recent months due to political controversy, however the event looks like it will be very well attended.

Taking place at the Royal Greens G&CC in the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), the tournament will include a stellar field including world number one Brooks Koepka, number two Justin Rose, number three Dustin Johnson and Masters champion Patrick Reed.

Other big names confirmed include Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter.

Yasir Al-Rumayyan, chairman of the Saudi Golf Federation said last month after announcing Rose, Garcia and Poulter: “Today’s announcement reiterates our intention to make the inaugural Saudi International one of the world golf’s strongest events.

“Our ambition from the start was to amass a box office field that would build immediate impact and allow us to showcase the ambition of Saudi Arabia and its bright future to the world, whilst laying solid foundations for future endeavours.”

You would also imagine that it will feature many of the European Tour’s finest, who may opt to bolt it on to the desert swing with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and Dubai Desert Classic the previous two weeks.

The Saudi International’s prize pool of over €3m is significant, bigger than the Dubai Desert Classic, but it is dwarfed by the €6m Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship which has now been made a Rolex Series event.

However, there could be one reason why its field looks to be so strong – appearance fees.

Tiger Woods was reported to have turned down in excess of £2.5m to appear and when asked why he was playing in the Middle East, Dustin Johnson said, “I can think of a few reasons.”

DJ will also play in Abu Dhabi, as will Brooks Koepka.

Masters champion Patrick Reed said that playing in Saudi Arabia has nothing to do with politics and is instead a tool to grow the game worldwide.

“I can’t wait to go over and try to grow the game of golf around the world,” he said ahead of the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

“We’re athletes. We are going over to play golf. It’s a different thing than politics. We leave that to the people who handle politics.”

The Saudi International takes place from 31st Jan – 3rd Feb.

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