Four of golf’s biggest names took to the 15th fairway at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club to compete in a unique challenge with a Super Bowl twist, as Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Patrick Reed tried their hand at hitting field goals - with golf balls.
Faced with a set of bespoke goalposts, set against the stunning backdrop of the Red Sea, the players were split into two teams and asked to test their accuracy from 90 and 120-yards on the eve of one of the world’s biggest sporting events, which will take place in Miami on Sunday 2nd February.
With the teeing zones worth three and five points, respectively, and two balls available to each player, the pairing of the man they call ‘The Postman’, Poulter, and World Number One, Koepka, triumphed over the all-American duo of Johnson and Reed.
Donning the helmets and shirts of the teams set to contest Super Bowl LIV, namely the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, it was a challenge befitting the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers’ status as one of the strongest fields on the European Tour’s international schedule.
“That was a lot of fun; combining golf with American Football was a lot of fun,” commented defending champion Johnson.
“The wind, coming in off the sea made things tough and Patrick and I couldn’t quite finish things off. I still think my second one went through though…I’d like to see a video replay of that one. I think the refs got it wrong!”
At the end of day two, it is Dustin Johnson who is in the strongest position out of the four, currently sitting on five under par. Team Koepka and Poulter are still in contention, with Poulter following his opening round of 72 with a 2-under par 68 in round two, and Koepka adding a second round 69 to his opening 70 to sit nine shots behind overnight leader, France's Victor Perez.
Ian Poulter, who scored the winning points, said:“You don’t want #1 in world to be giving you grief if you’re not pulling your weight, so I was happy to knock a few through the uprights! I can’t throw an American Football very well, and I'm not big enough to play the game so this is about all I've got!” He added, “Obviously to come to new territories and try to grow the game around the world is very special. To do it here, second year out is great.”
Reed said: “That was a lot of fun, getting ready for Super Bowl time. Bringing some of the Super Bowl buzz to the golf course was a lot of fun. I'm a huge football fan, unfortunately my team didn’t make the Super Bowl this year, but after looking at both teams I think Kansas City has a good chance of winning. I'm looking forward to watching it!”
With 36-holes remaining, Perez holds a slender one shot lead from Gavin Green of Malaysia, on nine under par, with Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell one shot further back after firing two superb rounds of 64 and 68 respectively.
For more tournament information, visit www.saudiinternational.com