Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson highlight loaded field of confirmed players for 2022 Saudi International

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  • Dustin Johnson
    Dustin Johnson
    American professional golfer
  • Bryson DeChambeau
    Bryson DeChambeau
    American professional golfer
  • Henrik Stenson
    Henrik Stenson
    Swedish professional golfer
  • Jason Kokrak
    Jason Kokrak
    American professional golfer

Back in October, Golfweek reported that eight players asked for the PGA Tour’s permission to play in the controversial Saudi International.

On Monday when the tournament released a list of confirmed players for the 2022 on Feb. 3-6 at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, all eight appeared on the list alongside a few other notable names.

Two-time winner Dustin Johnson, 2020 champion Graeme McDowell, Abraham Ancer, Lee Westwood, Tommy Fleetwood, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Na and Jason Kokrak will be joined by Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Sergio Garcia, Tyrrell Hatton, Adri Arnaus, Rafael Cabrera Bello, Paul Casey, Jason Dufner, Shane Lowry, Joaquin Niemann, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Poulter, Xander Schauffele, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Harold Varner III, Jhonattan Vegas and Bubba Watson in Saudi Arabia in 2022.

The PGA Tour previously said it would deny waivers for its members to take part in the Saudi International. In past years the Tour granted releases to its members for the first three Saudi Internationals when it was a European Tour event. Last summer the PGA and European tours announced a strategic alliance, which removed the event from the European Tour schedule and was widely interpreted as a joint effort to stymie any rival tours.

In its first year as part of the Asian Tour schedule, the 2022 Saudi International features the strongest field in the history of the tour. The Saudis previously made a $100 million investment in the Asian Tour.

“History will reflect upon how developments like the Saudi International and Golf Saudi’s partnership with the Asian Tour helped see in a new era in the professional game,” said Cho Minn Thant, CEO of the Asian Tour, via a media statement. “With the right guidance, it’ll be the sport that benefits most, with more top athletes from across a wider geographical spectrum present at the very top level and more interest from a more diverse and committed group of stakeholders.”

Since the inaugural Saudi International in 2019, the tournament has been widely criticized as part of the government’s effort to “sportswash” its human rights abuses, same as LIV Golf Investments, the new golf venture backed by the Public Investment Fund which operates on behalf of the government of Saudi Arabia.

“Whilst this is a product of many factors, there is no denying the massive impact the best players in the world can have on creating multi-generational interest in the sport. This is why we place such importance on securing the strongest field possible, each and every year,” said Majed Al-Sorour, CEO and Deputy Chairman of Golf Saudi and the Saudi Golf Federation, via a media statement. “While we do not allow ourselves to be distracted from our long-term objectives by any external voices, we have been encouraged by strengthening discussions around the importance of fresh competition and innovation in the professional game.

“We are strong advocates for this, as we see it as the only way to achieve golf’s true global potential and realize the game’s considerable untapped value. All we will say is it is better for the sport if the competition remains healthy and respectful, as opposed to hostile, as all parties look at new ways to benefit this great game.”