Asian Tour expanding in Middle East, into UK

Asian Tour expanding in Middle East, into UK

KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, Saudi Arabia — A 10-event run called the International Series will form part of this season’s Asian Tour in a Saudi-funded move that could prove to be a threat to golf’s two main tours.

The series is being funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and fronted by former world No. 1 Greg Norman, who has been behind attempts for a proposed breakaway super league.

Norman announced the introduction of the series on Tuesday, ahead of this week’s Saudi International.

One of the 10 events will take place at the Centurion Club outside London. Two more will be in the Middle East. Norman said the series will not be “geo-fenced,” raising the potential for a future event in the United States. The tournaments will be open to players from other tours.

The series will start in Thailand in March.

Many of golf’s top players, including Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson, have chosen to compete this week in Saudi Arabia — where appearance money is lucrative — instead of on the U.S. PGA Tour or European tour.

Rights groups have criticized players for appearing at events funded by Saudi Arabia because of the kingdom’s human rights record.

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