LIV Golf Investments, the newly formed company of which Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund is the majority shareholder, and the sport’s Asian Tour today announced the name, an increased investment, and worldwide destinations for the inaugural season of their recently announced 10-event partnership.

The International Series was first announced with the launch of LIV in October last year, and it has been designed, LIV says, “to drive greater engagement amongst fans, attract new commercial interest, and to help stabilize professional golf following a sustained period of worldwide disruption and uncertainty.”

Today’s announcement sees an initial commitment for the series from LIV of $200 million – already one of the biggest investments in the history of professional golf – increased to $300 million.

That will contribute to prize purses ranging from $1.5 million to $2 million per event.

In addition, it has been revealed that the International Series will not be constrained to events in Asia alone.

The action is scheduled to begin in Thailand (Black Mountain Golf Club, Hua Hin) in March before visiting England, Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East, China, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

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At a press conference ahead of the Saudi International’s first appearance on the Asian Tour (February 3 to 6 at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club), Cho Minn Thant, chief executive and commissioner of the Asian Tour, explained: “It’s basically part of our strategy to make the Asian tour more of a global tour. We have members from all over the world – 25 different nationalities playing on the Asian tour. It’s not just for Asians. It’s not just in Asia. We will be playing in other destinations …”

 He added: “If you look at the way that other tours are operating as well, there are instances where the [US-based] PGA Tour plays in Asia, there are instances where the [European] DP World Tour is trying to or playing in Asia as well. There are no boundaries anymore in the world of golf.”

Of the investment that the International Series will benefit from in relation to the rest of the Asian Tour, Minn Thant said the 10 tournaments would be “a level up”.

“We still have regular events on the Asian tour which make up our backbone, which are very important to our players,” he said.

“But these 10 events are going to be set up in a way where the fans and the players have an enhanced experience …

“There's going to be great hospitality, there's going to be enhanced television at each tournament, there's going to be more media. Obviously, we're going to be able to reach out to more fans and make the experience for the players who compete a special experience where they can tell other their peers from around the world, ‘hey, the Asian Tour is very hospitable, the Asian Tour’s quality of staging is just as good as anywhere else in the world, it's a fun place to play and it's an alternative way to move up the ranks in the world of golf’.”

There has been some criticism of LIV – and by extension the Asian Tour – with some having suggested that investments in golf by the Saudi-backed investment company are an exercise in sportswashing.

Asked if he was surprised about the vehement response to its association with LIV that the Asian Tour had received from quarters, Minn Thant said: “We've been vilified as bad boys in the press over the last few months and I really think it's unjustified.

“Any tour that's out there for the members has a responsibility to its membership to look at sponsorship and partnership opportunities to improve. Likewise, the European tour works with DP World in their title sponsorship of the tour, so I don't see us working with LIV Golf Investments or any other promoter, any other sponsor throughout the course of the season, as a bad thing.

“I'm out here to increase the number of playing opportunities for our members. I'm here to increase the amount of prize money that's on offer. I'm here to improve the awareness and experience for the fans of golf in Asia and I think this is exactly what we're doing.”