Patrick Reed of the United States watches his tee shot on the 11th hole during the first round of the Zozo Championship PGA Tour in Inzai, east of Tokyo, Japan in October. Photo: AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

The European Tour is becoming more and more attractive for the top players from around the world as their schedule seems to be fitting in well with the stars from the US - especially at the beginning of each year.

It was announced this week that the 2020 Saudi International had added a few more big names to the list for their second event of the European Tour’s new season calendar.

The championship will be staged in King Abdullah Economic City at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club from January 30 to February 1.

Former Masters champions Patrick Reed of the US and Spain’s Sergio Garcia, in addition to 2016 Open winner, Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, will return to the Kingdom after making their Royal Greens Golf & Country Club debut earlier this year. They will be joined by the reigning Open champion, Shane Lowry.

This follows defending champion Dustin Johnson and World No 1 Brooks Koepka confirming their return last month as, with this latest raft of world-class additions, the event looks to build on an official strength of field rating that saw it ranked the third highest non-Major event of 2019.

Reed, who plays most of his golf on the PGA Tour but joined the European Tour in 2015 is therefore the third high profile American to confirm their attendance and is excited to build on the positive effect the event had on introducing the game to the people of Saudi Arabia back in January.

“I loved playing in Saudi Arabia last year,” said Reed. “The facilities at Royal Greens are world class and I was honoured to be part of history at the Saudi Golf Federation’s first professional event.”

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson will return to the Kingdom after making their Royal Greens Golf & Country Club debut earlier this year. Photo: AP Photo/Jon Super

European Ryder Cup stars Stenson and Garcia will return to for a second year having both previously captured titles in the Middle East - in Dubai and Qatar, respectively - and are currently ranked No 40 and No 39 in the world.

They will be joined by Ireland’s latest Major winner, Lowry, who himself tasted success in the Middle East, claiming the title in Abu Dhabi before his famous victory at Royal Portrush back in July. He will head to the Kingdom off the back of a sensational season that has seen him climb to No 19 in the world, as he sets his sights on a maiden Ryder Cup appearance in September.

“I’ve heard a lot of the guys on Tour saying they really enjoyed the Saudi International tournament early this year, so I’m looking forward to experiencing it for myself,” said Lowry.

“The golf course sounds like it’s in great condition and by all accounts the hospitality around the event is first class.”

Yasir Al-Rumayyan, chairman of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi, said: “We have a vision for golf to help transform Saudi Arabia and become a premier golf destination. It is therefore extremely important for us drive the game forward both here and around the world by hosting the best players at the Saudi International.”

Royal Greens Golf & Country Club lies along the spectacular Red Sea coastline and is set alongside stunning residential and recreational facilities. The club not only boasts a championship golf course and world-class practice facilities but a state-of-the-art clubhouse which was recently voted the Best Golf Clubhouse 2019 and Best Course in Saudi 2019 by the World Golf Awards.

Iqbal Khan