NEW YORK: LIV Golf Investments and the Asian Tour has unveiled The International Series and the 2022-2023 destinations and prize purses for the ground-breaking series of 10 marquee global events that were announced in November 2021.
In what is one of the most significant recent developments in the history of Asian golf, what is now to be known as The International Series will be integrated into the full 2022-23 Asian Tour schedule, kicking off in Thailand in March followed by visits to England, Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East, China, Singapore and Hong Kong, featuring prize purses ranging from $1.5 million to $2 million per event.
The announcement also saw the unveiling of the new brand, name and logo for The International Series, as well as an increase in the lucrative and unprecedented investment into the Asian Tour by LIV Golf to $300 million from $200 million.
The International Series will support playing opportunities and prize funds for the 10 events to be played every season over the next decade. It has been designed to drive greater engagement among fans, attract new commercial interest and to help stabilize professional golf following a sustained period of worldwide disruption and uncertainty.
“We are on the threshold of a new era for Asian golf,” said Cho Minn Thant, commissioner and CEO of the Asian Tour. “The International Series is a new upper-tier of elite events, the likes of which the region has not seen before, that will mark the start of a phenomenal period of growth for the Asian Tour. It also signifies the furthering of our relationship with our new strategic partner LIV Golf Investments and its CEO, Greg Norman.”
Thant added: “Importantly, The International Series will add to the Asian Tour’s backbone of established events to comprise a 25-event season, expected to represent a record-breaking combined prize-fund,” he said. “Each of the 10 events will be broadcast live across the globe, with plans to attract an international field of headline talent.”
In October last year, Greg Norman was announced as CEO of LIV Golf Investments — a newly formed company whose purpose is to improve the health of professional golf on a global scale to help unlock the sport’s untapped worldwide potential. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is the majority shareholder in LIV Golf Investments.
“We are setting the Asian Tour up as a powerful new force on the world golf stage,” said Norman. “In my 40 years as a professional golfer, I’ve seen many parts of the world that have benefitted tremendously from golf and its growth and development. We now have the opportunity to do that in the Asia Pacific region and the Middle East with this incredible investment platform.
“Everyone benefits: Professional players, amateurs, grassroots golf, fans, economies, communities, stakeholders. I’ve never been so optimistic about the future of the sport.”
The widely acclaimed Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin, Thailand will host The International Series Thailand from March 3 to 6, boasting a prize purse of $1.5 million, before London stages the next event at Centurion Club from June 9 to 12, offering a $2 million purse. The second half of the year will see stops in Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia before heading to the Middle East and then culminating in China, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The announcement comes on the eve of the Asian Tour’s new season with the $5 million PIF Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers starting this Thursday, Feb. 3 at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club.
With six of the top 20 players in the world competing — including Americans Dustin Johnson, the 2019 and 2021 champion, and Bryson Dechambeau — as well as over 50 of the Asian Tour’s most prominent players, the star-studded event is the strongest field in the history of the Asian Tour. The tournament, which is not part of The International Series, also offers one of the Asian Tour’s most lucrative purses.
The Asian Tour’s 2020-21 season was recently completed and saw Joohyung Kim, Korea’s 19-year-old rising star, claim the coveted Asian Tour Order of Merit.
Speaking at today’s press conference, Kim said: “I have been fortunate to enjoy an amazing start to my professional career but for this to happen at the same time as the Asian Tour is going through such incredibly positive changes is a huge bonus for me, as well as for all the Asian Tour players.”