Riyadh: Some of the top golfers have put Saudi Arabia on the world’s golfing map ahead of the inaugural Saudi International powered by SBIA, which will make history as the first-ever European Tour event to be held in the Kingdom. The event begins on January 31.
World No.1 Justin Rose is joined by Brooks Koepka (No.2), Dustin Johnson (No.3), Bryson DeChambeau (No.5) ; European Ryder Cup stars Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Thorbjorn Olesen, Lee Westwood and Thomas Bjorn as well as reigning Masters champion Patrick Reed on the signature 16th hole at tournament host Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).
Against a stunning backdrop of the contrasting blue hues of the Red Sea, the players were presented with a huge map of the world and given a geography test to pinpoint the exact locations of Saudi Arabia, KAEC and, more accurately, Royal Greens Golf & Country Club.
Johnson showed his geography is as good as his long game, coming out on top in identifying all three locations: “I’ve always known my world geography well and obviously we travel a lot with the sport, so I was quietly confident I would nail this one,” said the world No. 3. “Here’s hoping this is not the only victory I’ll experience this week.”
DeChambeau, a winner at Dubai Desert Classic, showed his mettle when he shot 24-under par over four days in Dubai to win his first title outside the United States and his fifth since the start of 2018 — more than any other player.
DeChambeau, a physics graduate who has earned the nickname “mad scientist” and famously plays with a set of single-length irons, believes his game is peaking at the right time.
“We’ve got a better understanding of how rough shots come out, of how bunker shots come out, of how putts break... all these little things we’ve accumulated are adding up, and... it’s kind of like a domino effect,” he said.