Written by
Apr 17 2024

Henrik Stenson has highlighted the importance of LIV Golf players competing on the Asian Tour, and the incredible impact it continues to have on the region’s professional golfers.

Speaking ahead of this week’s Saudi Open presented by PIF, the fifth leg of this year’s Asian Tour, which starts today, the Swede specifically pointed to The International Series – 10-elite level events that are integrated into the Asian Tour schedule – and the key role it plays in raising standards.

“Many of the LIV Golf players play two or three throughout the year. That elevates The International Series and the Asian Tour on those weeks,” said the 48-year-old.

“It’s important to have a measuring stick and that is what happens during The International Series when you have the LIV Golf players and big strong names coming to play. They raise the standard and that is what the other guys are striving to beat.

“You have seen it with David Puig who has two wins in the past nine months. He comes in, plays solid, wins tournaments and the other guys realise they have to up their game if they’re going to want to get to the next level and compete with the best players in the world. That has been a huge opportunity for the Asian Tour to have that influx and have a stronger competition.”

The Swede is more than qualified to speak on the matter as he is one such golfer who has played a part in this, not only as a LIV Golf player but also through having been a regular visitor to Asia for the past two decades.

His second-place finish in the Saudi Open presented by PIF last year, when he made a valiant late run making four consecutive birdies from the 12th and another on 17 before eventually finishing three shots behind the champion Denwit Boriboonsub from Thailand, being a fine example of his influence.

He added: “I enjoyed the week last year. I came in rather late and threw myself into action. We managed to finish second with a good finish on Sunday on the back nine in particular.

“Now, as we’re on our way down to Adelaide and Singapore for the next two LIV Golf events, it made good sense to break up the journey and get the reps in. I’m trying to get the 2024 season going because it’s been halted a bit due to some health issues in the early part of the year, so I hope I can put that behind me and stay healthy for the remainder of the season. Hopefully I will play a solid week here in Riyadh again.”

Stenson has been paired with Puig and Hong Kong’s Taichi Kho in the first two rounds here at Riyadh Golf Club – two more of the Asian Tour most exciting young golfers.

“There are so many more players catching the eye on the Asian Tour,” he added.

“I didn’t see much of Denwit play, but if you’re good enough to go out and win a pretty big event on the Asian Tour, like he did last year, you have game. He is part of that new generation and it’s fun to see new and upcoming players go out and play freer than you do after 20 years on tour.

“We see the game growing all over Asia and one of my observations is that Thailand seems to have developed a lot of players. There are a lot of Thai players on the Asian Tour, more than I remember 10/15 years ago. Certain countries are making strides, and it seems like Thailand has produced a lot of players lately.”