29 Jan 2020

“I wish it happened 20 years ago” – Prince Khalid on Saudi International

On the eve of the Saudi International presented by SBIA, Prince Khalid bin Saud Al Faisal hails the fast-paced development of golf in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, believing that right now is a great time to be a golfer in the country and things will only get better in the not too distant future.

“For me personally, all this development is better later than never,” smiles Prince Khalid shortly after playing in the Pro-Am for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, one week before the staging of the second edition of the Saudi International presented by SBIA.

“I wish it had happened 20 years ago but at least it’s happening now! As a golfer, this is the best time to play the game in Saudi Arabia. The developments, the programmes, the courses that are being planned and built, it’s such an exciting time and I can’t wait for everything to come to fruition.”

The European Tour’s Saudi International is an important part of the process – as it takes its place as an ‘event’, which is one the Five Pillars of Golf Saudi’s vision to take the sport to the masses in the country – and Prince Khalid believes it will once again help boost the image of golf throughout the Kingdom.

“For the second year it feels amazing – last year for the first event it was a little nerve wracking,” he said. “You just wondered how everything would turn out, but of course having four of the top five players show up last year was an amazing thing to happen. 

Khalid
Brooks Koepka tees it up at the 2019 Saudi International.

GREAT NATURAL RESOURCES

“Internationally it is vitally important for people to see the impact of the tournament and the fact that players like Brooks Koepka come to play here. If people come to Jeddah to see the golf they will also find out about the great natural resources that we have here, it’s a magnificent country. We have assets that people can visit and as a destination it offers much more than many other places in the world – there’s history, archaeology and culture.

“This year we’re looking for the course to be a little bit tougher to give the players more of a challenge and hopefully the Saudi International will help open people’s eyes to this game, because golf isn’t that well known in the Kingdom. This will shed some light on the players, on the sport itself and hopefully more people will show up and get interested in playing golf.

“The course is very difficult. It’s not too long but you have to be very precise. This year the players might be surprised at how long the rough is and how quick the greens are compared to last year. It’s a challenging course with a great layout but you can score low on it if you’re really accurate.

“Last year the final round battle between Haotong Li and eventual winner Dustin Johnson was an amazing finish. Those last three holes were truly spectacular and I hope it happens again.” 

Khalid
Royal Greens Golf Club – Home of the Saudi International.
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