Golf Club: Jordan Spieth discusses why Saudi golf tournaments are a “threat” to the PGA Tour but may benefit players

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Golf Club
Source: Skysports

Golf Club: Saudi Arabia’s rich investment in golf, according to Jordan Spieth, is a “threat” to the PGA Tour, but one that can help players and the sport in the long run.

Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, and Phil Mickelson are among the players who have committed to compete in the Saudi International, which will take place from February 3-6 and will be held concurrently with the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

The PGA Tour only gave its members permission to play if they agreed to play in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in future seasons, as the Saudi event is part of a large investment in golf in the region.

The tournament’s title sponsor is the Saudi Arabian Private Investment Fund, which is supported by Greg Norman’s LIV Golf Investments, which made a $200 million commitment to the Asian Tour last year for premier events over the next decade.

“I believe it is unquestionably a threat to the PGA Tour,” Spieth stated ahead of the Sentry Tournament of Champions. “I believe that as a player, it will benefit in that the improvements brought about by the PGA Tour have been modernised in a way that may or may not have occurred if it hadn’t been there.”

“I think for us on the PGA Tour, I think it’s been something that’s kind of helped the PGA Tour sit and say, ‘hey, where can we look to satisfy our members and potentially make some changes going forward that, where there are some similarities to a league like that, but while maintaining the integrity that the PGA Tour has?”

In Hawaii, the New Year begins

Spieth is one of 38 players competing in the first event of 2022 in Hawaii, which is only open to PGA Tour winners from the previous calendar year. World No. 1 Jon Rahm is also in the lineup, making his first competitive appearance since October.

Rahm won the US Open and had 13 top-10 finishes in 2021, a total that would almost definitely have been greater if he hadn’t withdrawn from The Memorial with a six-shot lead after testing positive for Covid-19.

Depending on the outcome, Rahm might lose his world No. 1 status to Collin Morikawa this week, yet the Spaniard is more worried about improving his 2021 return.

“If you asked me when I was transferring manufacturers that I would have this year [2021], I would believe you, but I was expecting the first few months to be a struggle,” Rahm remarked.

“I changed everything straight away, bought a new golf ball, and was confident yet realistic that it could happen. All of my hard work in December paid off, and I began playing terrific golf and had chances to win straight away.

“Obviously, despite what occurred the week of Memorial Day, everything fell into place and I enjoyed the summer that I did. So, this year, I’m aiming to have another good year and, ideally, win numerous times.

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