Australian Adam Scott and a host of high-profile golf stars could be fined if they play in next year’s lucrative Saudi International – which is not a sanctioned PGA Tour or DP World Tour event.
Scott and fellow major champions Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry are among the marquee names that have committed to play the February 3-6 tournament in the Middle East.
Event organisers for the event at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club released a commitment list on Monday which also included world No.5 Xander Schauffele, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey Lee Westwood , Tommy Fleetwood and Abraham Ancer.
The tournament, which has stirred controversy in the light of allegations of human rights abuses against the Saudi government, takes place at the same time as the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the PGA Tour said it had yet to grant Tour members waivers to compete at the non-PGA event.
“We have not granted any conflicting event releases for the Saudi International tournament,” Laura Neal, executive vice president of communications at the PGA Tour, told Reuters.
“Per PGA TOUR regulations, a decision on conflicting event releases can be made up until 30 days before the event’s first round.”
Eight players, including world No.3 and defending champion Johnson, had applied for waivers, Golfweek reported last month. If they are not granted and the players compete there anyway, they will likely face a fine.
All eight of the players who reportedly applied for waivers were listed on Monday as confirmed for the event.
The PGA Tour granted releases to its members for the first three editions of the Saudi International when it was a European Tour – now known as the DP World Tour – event.
Last summer the PGA and European tours announced a strategic alliance, which removed the Saudi International from the DP World Tour schedule and was widely interpreted as a joint effort to stymie any rival tours.
The Saudi International is now the flagship event on the Asian Tour, which is also launching 10 new events spearheaded by Greg Norman and backed by $A281 million from the Saudi government’s Private Investment Fund.