The PGA Tour has granted all “conflicting-event releases” to players – including Australia’s Adam Scott – for February’s Saudi International but stressed important conditions will apply.
As reported by PGATour.com, the tournament will be played the same week as the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and players will be required to support that Tour staple going forward.
In a memo sent out to players this morning, the PGA Tour confirmed players who have played in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at least once in the past five years were granted a release on the condition that they commit to play it at least once in the next two years (’23, ’24). Players who have not played the historic tournament on the Monterey Peninsula at least once in the past five years were granted a release on the condition that they commit to play it at least twice in the next three years (’23, ’24, ’25).
Golf Saudi officials recently sent out a press release trumpeting a list of 25 top players – including 11 Major champions – who they say have committed to playing at Royal Greens Golf Club near Jeddah.
The list includes several players who had previously competed or won the event (Dustin Johnson was the champ in 2019 and 2021, Graeme McDowell in 2020), which was on the DP World Tour (formerly European Tour) schedule from its inception in 2019 until 2021. But when Golf Saudi began making overtures towards starting its own golf series and trying to recruit high-profile players to be the main attractions, tour officials in Europe and the United States distanced themselves from the event. Reportedly, they told players that they would no longer be given releases to compete in the Saudi Invitational and would be disciplined if they were to play in the event anyway.
The players announced as committed to playing the Saudi International in 2022 are:
Rafael Cabrera Bello
Harold Varner III
Last year’s Pebble Beach champion, Daniel Berger joined rarified air that includes some of the game’s most iconic names, including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Billy Casper and Johnny Miller.
The tournament is also famous for its scenery, played on some of America’s most iconic courses, starting with Pebble Beach Golf Links and extending to Monterey Peninsula Country Club and Spyglass Hill. The host Monterey Peninsula Foundation distributes tens of millions of dollars to hundreds of area non-profits annually.
“As per the PGA Tour Player Handbook & Tournament Regulations, players who hit the 15-event minimum are typically eligible for three conflicting-event releases per season,” reports the PGA Tour. “But the regulations also fully support denial of such requests.
“Tour players need not apply for conflicting-event releases to some tournaments, including the Majors, Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, World Cup, and Olympics. Exceptions may also be made to a foreign player who wishes to play an event on his home circuit. A home circuit is defined as the recognised pro tour that plays all or some of its schedule in the country of which the player in question is a citizen.”
The Saudi International releases are not precedent setting, the Tour added.