The European Tour’s ‘desert swing’ continues into a third week with the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers on Thursday.
This is only the second edition of the Saudi International, which became the sixth European Tour event in the Arabian Peninsula, with 2019 being its inaugural tournament.
Dustin Johnson took the victory at last season’s event, winning by two strokes from China’s Haotong Li, with a score of -19.
The win was DJ’s first in a solely European Tour sanctioned event, with his other victories coming on the PGA TOUR, in major championships, and at the World Golf Championships events.
The tournament itself, while only being in its second year of running, has one of the larger prize funds and Race to Dubai points pots available, bar the majors, WGC events, and Rolex Series events.
The Royal Greens Golf and Country Club is only a par-70, but it still measures at more than 7,000 yards, and it will pose a tough test for the players this week.
The two par-5s both measure at least 565 on the card, with the finishing hole coming in at over 600 yards from the back tees, a challenging test to finish the round, and one that could cause issues come Sunday afternoon.
Once again, the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers comes in late January and early February, with the European Tour season still getting into the swing of things for the new year.
The winner of this event will make a solid move up the Race to Dubai standings, with 710 points on offer to the champion come Sunday evening in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia.
The current Race to Dubai leader, Lee Westwood, is among those featured this week, with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA looking to keep his form going, and to increase his lead at the top of the standings.
Along with that, the 46-year-old will be among the Europeans in the field looking to bank some big points when it comes to qualification for the 2020 Ryder Cup team, with the likes of Henrik Stenson, Shane Lowry, Bernd Wiesberger, Ian Poulter, and Sergio Garcia among them. Frenchman Victor Perez currently tops the standings as Europe’s highest-ranked Ryder Cup points earner.
The action will begin on Thursday morning, with one of the best fields at a standard European Tour event in the last few years ready to rip up the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, but who makes ProGolfNow’s Power Rankings for the event?
Four Americans are on there, with two making their debut appearances on the Power Rankings, while several experienced heads also keep their name among the top ten, but who takes the top spot?