World No.2 completes all-star field, with four of golf’s top five setting sights on Saudi success

PGA Tour Player of the Year and three-time Major Champion, Brooks Koepka, joins Ryder Cup compatriot, Bryson DeChambeau, and Presidents Cup Captain and Four-Time Major Champion, Ernie Els

Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Saturday 12 January, 2019: The Saudi International powered by SBIA has finalised its headline player line-up for the inaugural tournament taking place in King Abdullah Economic City at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, from 31st January to 3rd February 2019, announcing five more world-class players.

Headlining the field, which already includes world nos. 1 and 3, Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson, will be three-time Major winner and world no. 2, Brooks Koepka. The 2018 PGA Tour Player of the Year, not only defended his U.S. Open title last summer, becoming the first player to do so in 29 years, but he went on to add to his Major haul at the PGA Championship. Fellow American, Bryson Dechambeau, (world no. 5), who boasts three PGA Tour victories in his last seven starts, completes the American contingent and will head to Saudi having opened his season with a seventh place finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions last week.

Joining them for the event, which features on the European Tour schedule for the first time, is four-time Major champion and 71-time worldwide winner, Ernie Els, who will make his second trip to King Abdullah Economic City, having been part of the Grand Opening in April 2018.

during the first round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on January 3, 2019 in Lahaina, Hawaii.

Completing the list of golfing talent on show are European Ryder Cup heroes, Lee Westwood and Thorbjorn Olesen, who each played their part in Europe’s dramatic victory at Le Golf National, with Westwood, a veteran of 10 Ryder Cup matches as a player, serving as vice captain and debutant, Olesen, claiming a vital singles point against Jordan Spieth.

The tournament field now boasts four of the world’s top five players, seven Major champions and eight players from last year’s Ryder Cup.

Speaking about the latest additions to the field, H.E. Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Chairman of the Saudi Golf Federation, said: “Our intention from the outset was to secure one of the strongest fields in world golf to compete in our inaugural event. Today’s announcement is the final step and completes a headline roster befitting a championship of this significance and will attract major national and international interest.”

Koepka, the former world no.1, said: “I started my professional career in Europe and the diversity of tournaments and experiences I enjoyed has undoubtedly helped broaden my game and helped me to perform on the international stage. It’s always exciting to line up against the best players in the world and I am looking forward to experiencing the culture of a new country.”

during the first round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on January 3, 2019 in Lahaina, Hawaii.

Ernie Els, who will lead the International Team as Presidents Cup Captain in Australia later this year, commented: “I’ve played golf all over the world and was delighted to be invited to play Royal Greens earlier this year. The place is spectacular and it will be a great venue for the event. I’ve spent some time getting to know a little bit about the Kingdom’s plans to accelerate golf development in the country and I’m privileged to be a part of it.”
The Tournament will take place within King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, which lies along the spectacular Red Sea coastline. The Club boasts a premier championship golf course, a state-of-the-art clubhouse, a world-class practice facility and stunning residential and recreational facilities. Attracting many of the best players in the world, the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisory will place a special focus on families, community, charity and junior development as the Kingdom looks to develop its golfing pedigree.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – DECEMBER 09: Ernie Els of South Africa plays his second shot on the par 4, ninth hole during the final round of the South African Open on the Firethorn Course at Randpark Golf Club on December 09, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Confirmed Players:
– Thomas Bjorn
– Bryson DeChambeau
– Ernie Els
– Sergio Garcia
– Brooks Koepka
– Thorbjorn Olesen
– Ian Poulter
– Justin Rose
– Patrick Reed
– Henrik Stenson
– Lee Westwood

For further information contact:
Tom Benbow, IMG Tom.benbow@img.com

Michele Mair, IMG michele.mair@img.com

For local media enquiries contact:
Euan Megson, Action Global Communications Euan.m@actionprgroup.com

Barry King, Action Global Communications Barry.k@actionprgroup.com

About the Saudi Golf Federation
The Saudi Golf Federation is the governing body for golf in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, responsible for handicapping, development of golf as a sport and for delivering national tournaments. Based in Riyadh, the Federation is a full member of the Council of National Golf Unions and is committed to fully developing the game for all its citizens and residents.

About King Abdullah Economic City
King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) is the largest privately-funded new city in the world. Situated on the west coast of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, KAEC covers an area of 181 square kilometers of land, approximately the size of Washington DC. KAEC comprises King Abdullah Port, the Coastal Communities residential districts, the Haramain Railway district and the Industrial Valley. The city is under development by Emaar, The Economic City, a publicly listed Saudi joint-stock company established in 2006.

About The Royal Greens Golf and Country Club
The Royal Greens Golf and Country Club is an exclusive, first-class golfing experience set within King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. The beautiful beachside, 18-hole championship golf course, designed by European Golf Design, offers an unparalleled golfing experience. The majestic clubhouse boasts a panoramic view of the Red Sea and offers an exclusive members area with private dining, a board room, cigar room, library, executive business center and other luxury amenities. With its state-of-the-art practice facilities, Golf Academy, Spa and array of fine dining options, Royal Greens is set to become one of the region’s finest sports and leisure destinations.

About The European Tour
The European Tour celebrates men’s professional golf on a global stage. In 2018, the European Tour International Schedule will feature a minimum of 47 tournaments in 30 countries, including eight Rolex Series events, all part of the Race to Dubai.

Celebrating the global connectivity of the European Tour and Dubai, the Race to Dubai is a season- long competition to crown the European Tour’s Number One player, an honour which in 2017 went to England’s Tommy Fleetwood for the first time, and which, since 2009, has also been achieved three times by Rory McIlroy, twice by Henrik Stenson, and once each by Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald.

Since its formation in 1972, the European Tour has witnessed 26 Members celebrate a total of 53 Major Championship titles between them, enjoyed ten Members attaining the pinnacle of World Number One and has celebrated its diversity as players from 36 different countries have won on the Tour.

The European Tour also manages the Challenge Tour, which featured 27 tournaments in 21 countries in 2017, and the Staysure Tour, which featured 16 tournaments in 12 countries in 2017. It is also the Managing Partner of Ryder Cup Europe, the body which, alongside the PGA of America, administers golf’s greatest team contest, The Ryder Cup. In 2018, the 42nd staging of the biennial contest between Europe and the United States of America will take place at Le Golf National, France, from September 28-30.

The European Tour broadcasts live coverage of its tournaments to more than 490 million homes in more than 150 countries every week, generating in excess of 2,200 global broadcast hours for each event. It also enjoys the support of many of the world’s leading business brands with Rolex, BMW, Emirates and Titleist as Official Partners.

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