Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau… .
World-renowned professional golfers, known by name, flocked to the opening game of the Asian Tour. Most of these players are members of the LIV Golf League. Thanks to this, the ‘golf periphery’ Asian Tour, which is incomparable in scale to the US Professional Golf (PGA) Tour or the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour), is attracting the most attention this week.
Round 1 of the PIF Saudi International, the opening game of the 2023 Asian Tour, which ended on the 3rd (Korean time) at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club (par 70) in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. The top of the leaderboard was filled with LIV golf players. On the first day of the tournament, Abraham Anser cut 7 strokes to take the sole lead, and Sebastian Muñoz, who will join the LIV Golf League this year, took the sole second place. In addition, Sergio Garcia and Louis Oosthuizen are aiming for the championship with overwhelming skills, such as tying for third place.
There is only one reason why those who not only won major tournaments but also won numerous trophies on the PGA Tour participated in the Asian Tour. It’s just to get world ranking points. In other words, when LIV golfers couldn’t participate in the PGA Tour and it became difficult to obtain world ranking points, the PIF, which had strong financial power, held a large-scale tournament for them.
Just looking at the prize money makes your mouth drop open. The total prize money for this tournament is $5 million. The winning prize is also $1 million. Kim Si-hwan, who won the money prize at the Asian Tour last year, earned $627,458 at the time. Even if you win this competition alone, you will earn much more than last year’s prize money winner.
The world ranking points are also huge. The world ranking points that a general Asian Tour winner receives are only 5 to 7 points. However, the winner of this competition receives a whopping 24.42490 points. Although it is lower than the world ranking points 안전놀이터 (34.77978 points) received by the winner of the PGA Tour AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am held during the same period, it is 7 points higher than the 17.65 points awarded to the winner of the DP World Tour Ras Al Khaimah Championship. In addition, it is more than twice that of the Korn Ferry Tour (11.14 points), the second part of the PGA Tour. It is an unimaginable winning point for Asian Tour events. This is because the world rankings of LIV golfers who participated in the tournament are still high. The only player in the world top 10 is Cameron Smith, who is ranked 4th, but there are a total of 7 players in the world top 50, including Cameron Young and Joaquin Niemann. If you increase it to the world ranking top 100, 20 people participated. And that’s not all. Cameron Young, a former rookie of the PGA Tour, received permission to participate in the tournament with a large prize money. It is the opening match of the Asian Tour, and the main sponsor of the tournament, PIF, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, is giving the best opportunity to take many world ranking points to those who are superior to the players of the Asian Tour.
On the other hand, players from the Asian Tour are also exerting their strength on the exceptionally large stage. This is because there is an opportunity to win big prizes such as bonuses. On the first day of the tournament, Kim Min-kyu reduced 3 strokes with 5 birdies and 2 bogeys, and tied for 9th place with Patrick Reed, Jason Cocrack (USA) and Richard Bland (England).