Top golfers Lowry, Garcia laud high-quality Saudi International

1 / 2
Shane Lowry with his caddy enjoys a day out on the seaside Royal Greens Golf & Country Club course in King Abdullah Economic City. (Getty Images)
2 / 2
Sergio Garcia during a practice round ahead of the Saudi International Golf Tournament. (Getty Images)
Short Url
Updated 29 January 2020

Top golfers Lowry, Garcia laud high-quality Saudi International

  • European stars ‘trying to globalize game of golf,’ support ‘exciting’ new events in different markets

JEDDAH: Major winners Sergio Garcia and Shane Lowry have hailed the “exciting” growth of golf in the Kingdom on the eve of the Saudi International.

The second edition of the tournament will see the European pair joined by world No. 1 Brooks Koepka, defending champion Dustin Johnson, US stars Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson, England’s Lee Westwood and Swede Henrik Stenson at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club.

Ten major champions will be among the players competing for $3.5 million in prize money.

Garcia, the 2017 Masters winner and Ryder Cup stalwart, said the Saudi International, powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers, was a fast-growing regional event.

“Everyone is really trying hard to make it a great event, it’s definitely on its way. It just comes down to us to put on a good show.

“The quality of this event is really good. We’re excited to be back here in Saudi. I think it’s very important to support events in new countries. At the end of the day, we are trying to globalize the game of golf.”

The 40-year-old Spaniard added that his game was in a good place for a huge 2020 season for the game, that included the Olympics and a Ryder Cup. “I feel like the short game has been quite solid for both weeks. It’s just a matter of me keeping grinding and improving on every aspect of the game.”

Irish golfer Lowry, the defending Open champion, said the 7,010-yard par 70 layout suited his game, adding that international golf stars were in the fortunate position of having an opportunity to bring the game to new locations and inspire Saudis to take part.

“The golf course is very good, very much a Middle East-style golf course, and something that I liked the look of straightaway. It’s in absolutely perfect condition.

“It’s always cool and interesting to come to new places. I find the European Tour is always like that. Golf’s a great game and we’re very fortunate to do it. People of all standards, ages, sizes get involved and play with other people. That’s why I love the game,” added Lowry.

Saudi Arabia’s leading golfers, professional Othman Almulla, and amateurs Saud Al-Sharif and Faisal Salhab will all be teeing it up Thursday.

US player Reed said: “It’s a special opportunity for the local players to make an impression with the golfing world watching on. It’s awesome seeing players from Saudi playing. I hope they play well.

“Hopefully someone can make the cut for the weekend, because it’s always special time to be here at the weekend in a golf tournament,” he added.


Pakistan Cricket Board launches CAS appeal against Umar Akmal’s reduced ban

Updated 11 August 2020

Pakistan Cricket Board launches CAS appeal against Umar Akmal’s reduced ban

  • Akmal’s 18-month ban had been backdated to Feb. 20 when he was provisionally suspended
  • The 30-year-old will be eligible to play from August 2021

LONDON: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said that it will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the reduction of batsman Umar Akmal’s ban for an anti-corruption breach.
The middle-order batsman was banned in April for failing to report approaches to engage in corrupt practices ahead of this year’s Pakistan Super League Twenty20 competition.
An independent adjudicator last month reduced Akmal’s three-year ban to 18 months, saying Akmal’s confession that he failed to report match-fixing approaches on two occasions had left “no room for doubt as to the veracity of the charges”.
The PCB said the decision to file an appeal was made following a review of the independent adjudicator’s order, which said the ban was reduced “on grounds of taking a compassionate view”.
“The PCB doesn’t take any pride in seeing a cricketer of Umar’s stature being banned for corruption, but as a credible and respectable institution, we need to send out a loud and clear message to all our stakeholders that there will be no sympathy whatsoever for anyone who breaches the regulations,” the board said in a statement.
Akmal’s 18-month ban had been backdated to Feb. 20 when he was provisionally suspended and the 30-year-old will be eligible to play from August 2021.
He last played for Pakistan in a Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka in Lahore last year.