Global golf stars are lining up to take on the ‘Toon’ at the acclaimed Close House in Newcastle for the US$2 million International Series England from August 17-20.
Lee Westwood, the former world number one with 44 career victories – including eight on the Asian Tour – spearheads a cohort of 10 LIV golfers set to wow the crowds over the Colt Course, situated just a few miles from Newcastle upon Tyne. Despite being born and raised in Worksop, and an ardent Nottingham Forest FC fan, ‘Westy’ moved to the region a number of years ago and struck up a long-standing partnership with Close House as its attached tour professional.
Westwood said: “I’ve had the privilege of playing at home in tournament situations before, and there is truly nothing quite like it. Local excitement is building nicely with some of the players confirmed. I’ve been embraced by the people of Northumbria since I set up home there; their passion for sport is unrivalled and the full field will feel that during the tournament week – the atmosphere will be tremendous.”
Joining the Majesticks Team co-captain are 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed, 2010 U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell and this year’s PIF Saudi International victor Abraham Ancer. Like Ancer, whose most recent win netted a share of the US$5 million purse in Saudi Arabia, McDowell will be looking to improve on a single Asian Tour career victory, which came back in 2008 in South Korea.
Seven-time Asian Tour winner and LIV Golf player, Anirban Lahiri, will also make his second International Series appearance of the year, following an impressive runner-up finish at the Vietnam event back in April. On that occasion it was Kieran Vincent who emerged victorious, somewhat following in the footsteps of older brother Scott, who earned a place in the 2023 LIV Golf League by topping The International Series 2022 Order of Merit (OOM).
Spaniard Eugenio Chacarra and American Jason Kokrak also make International Series returns after teeing it up in the first event on the Asian Tour’s 2023 schedule in Oman. Meanwhile, England’s Richard Bland, Brendan Steele of the United States and South Africa’s Dean Burmester will make their debuts.
Signalling the halfway point of The International Series 2023 season, the event at Close House will be pivotal for players looking to climb The International Series OOM, currently led by the only two-time International Series winner, Andy Ogletree.
As expected, there is already fierce competition to finish within the top 32 places come the end of the season. At that juncture, the player in the no.1 position will punch his ticket directly to the ultra-lucrative 2024 LIV Golf League, while the remaining 31 players will secure entry into the LIV Golf Promotions Event to vie for three further places up for grabs. Among those leading the charge to dethrone the current number one are several of the Asian Tour’s brightest stars, including a quartet of Thai golfers: Gunn Charoenkul, Chonalatit Chuenboonngam, Sadom Kaewkanjan and Phachara Khongwatmai. All currently sit within the top 10 of The International Series OOM and are looking to secure their first International Series wins.
Head of The International Series, Rahul Singh, said: “Having the likes of Lee Westwood, Patrick Reed, Abraham Ancer and other LIV stars confirmed for International Series England is demonstrative of the growing strength of The International Series and the allure of the fabulous Lee Westwood Colt Course at Close House. We are returning to England’s North East after being made to feel so welcome last year, despite restrictions imposed by the pandemic. We are ready to renew the fervour this year and welcome spectators to what stands to be the biggest International Series event yet.”