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Calling a top player with 'Oil Money'... Saudi International kicks off February 2nd

The Asia Pro Golf Tour, which was treated as a periphery in professional golf, has been reborn as a large-scale tournament attracting top players thanks to the enormous 'oil money'.

The Asia Professional Golf Tour will hold the 2023 season opener PIF Saudi International (total prize money of $5 million) at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club (par 70) in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia for four days from February 2nd.

Hosted by the Saudi Arabian Sovereign Wealth Fund (PIF), the tournament began in 2019 as the DP World Tour (formerly known as the European Professional Golf Tour). In the midst of this, after the PIF-supported LIV Golf was launched last year, the DP World Tour and PIF fell apart and changed to an Asian Tour event. It has become a special event with a total prize money of up to 5 million dollars (approximately 6.14 billion won), which is unusual for an Asian tour event.

Not only the prize money, but also the participating players are gorgeous.

All of the big players who joined LIV Golf after leaving the PGA Tour will participate. World No. 3 Cameron Smith (Australia), last year's The Open champion, is making his first appearance at the event this year. Phil M. Coulson (USA), who rarely participated in last year's event, also decided to host his first event this year. Brooks Koepka, Bryson Dishambeau, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson (above), Lee Westwood (England), Sergio Garcia (Spain), Henrik Stenson (Sweden), and many more familiar faces to golf fans. With the approval of the PGA Tour, PGA Tour players such as Cameron Young and Cameron Champ (above USA) also participated.

What stands out is the Korean players.

A total of 8 people were named to the list of players, including Moon Gyeong-jun (41), Park Sang-hyun (40), Lee Tae-hee (39), Kim Young-soo (34), Jang Jang-geun (30), Kim Bio (33), Ok Tae-hoon (25), and Kim Min-gyu (22). raised The Korean Professional Golf (PGA) Korean Tour and the Asian Tour draw attention to how they will perform against the world's top players in a special tournament with a total prize money of 5 million dollars.

The PGA Tour AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (total prize money of 9 million dollars), which overlapped with this tournament, was somewhat lackluster as nine players within the top 10 in the world rankings were absent. This is because most of the top players chose to rest in preparation for the next tournament, the WM Phoenix Open. The WM Phoenix Open is one of the 'special events' newly established by the PGA Tour this year. Competing is a must for the $20 million prize pool and the Player Impact Factor bonus.

World No. 10 Matt Fitzpatrick (England), who won the US Open last year, comes out. Jordan Spieth (USA) and Viktor Hovlan (Norway) are considered favorites to win.

After rounds 1 to 3 at three courses including Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill (par 72), and Monterey Peninsula Country Club (par 71), players who passed the cut will advance to the final ranking at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

It is a pro-am method in which celebrities from all walks of life compete with players and rank them separately. [yunhap news]

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