Nearly 40 players are vying for a seat in the Saudi rebels’ first $25 million event – more than feared

Even Thorbjorn Olesen’s stunning eagle birdie climax when he won the Betfred British Masters at The Belfry yesterday could fuel the DP World Tour’s fevered chatter about who wants to play next month’s $25m Saudis’ inaugural Rebels event , do not silence.

Today is the deadline for players to submit their applications to attend next month’s LIV Golf Invitational in St Albans and the number is believed to be approaching 40.

That’s even more than feared and includes European Ryder Cup heroes Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer, as well as world No. 15 Louis Oosthuizen. The silver lining, however, is that the ever-growing list is mostly populated by over-30s.

“Most of the players who applied have no idea if they’re actually going to get on the field as it’s capped at 48,” an insider said.

“We didn’t expect so many rank-and-file professionals to ask to enter, although with $4 million for first place and $120,000 for last, it might have been expected.

“There are a few surprising names, but they’re mostly veterans. Very few under 20, which is good.”

The PGA Tour deadline was two weeks ago and there were more than 70 entries in total, with LIV Golf – the company running the Saudi bid to revolutionize the game – claiming that 15 of the world’s top 100 submitted forms.

Players at the US circuit should find out today if they will be allowed to serve at Hertfordshire.

Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour commissioner, is expected to give the green light on the occasion and keep his powder dry and his legal team on a leash until the second LIV event, which is scheduled to take place in Portland, Oregon later next month.

DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley has no such luxury and must quickly decide how to react when the Saudis hoist their Gulf flag on British soil.

It is believed he will not grant any releases but will balk at a ban on those who play anyway. There’s no deadline for him to give his verdict, although he doesn’t want it hanging over the Tour.

Pelley’s dilemma doesn’t end there, as the Asian Tour hosts a $2 million Saudi-funded event at Slaley Hall the week before the LIV opener. Wentworth headquarters are believed to have also received several requests to play at the Northumberland venue.

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022] Nearly 40 players are vying for a seat in the Saudi rebels’ first $25 million event – more than feared

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