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Brian Keogh

Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell face fines or bans from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour if they do not receive releases and keep their pledges to serve in Saudi International next year. </ The Irish couple were among the 25 big names yesterday who signed up for the Saudi Arabia-sponsored $ 5 million Asian Tour event at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, February 3-6, but both require publications from the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour.

Saudi International was a European Tour-approved event for three years starting in 2019. However, this is no longer the case after efforts by the Saudis to create a competing tour.

The DP World Tour, now in a strategic alliance with the PGA Tour, sees the Saudi Arabia-backed Asian Tour as major rivals and appears reluctant to give players releases on conflicting events.

The DP World Tour said yesterday it had “no comment” on a potential player clash, which Lowry, who is signing a multi-year agreement, has given has left in the dark to play in Saudi International.

The same goes for many big names, including Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, as well as European Ryder Cup players Lowry, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Tyrrell Hatton, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood.

McDowell and Henrik Stenson have also committed to the Jeddah event, and it remains to be seen how this affects their chances the appointment of the Ryder Cup captain in Rome in 2023.

Westwood (48) was considered a favorite until he decided to focus on playing, which left little clarity on who will succeed Pádraig Harrington with captain Thomas Bjorn emerging as a potential contender in 2018.

In the meantime, Norwegian Suzann Pettersen will succeed Catriona Matthew as Solheim Cup captain and pursue a hat-trick of European victories at Finca Cortesin in Leading Spain in 2023. Elsewhere, tickets for the Irish Open 2022 at Mount Juliet Estate will go on sale this Thursday.

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Pre-registered fans have exclusive access to a limited number of tickets at a special introductory price.

The Irish Open returns to Co Kilkenny for the fifth time from June 30th to July 3rd.

Free tickets for people under the age of 12 are available when purchasing an adult ticket.

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