The Middle East is set to welcome back top level golf in historic style with the announcement that Royal Greens Golf Club in Saudi Arabia will play host to a world-first $1.5million golf week on the Ladies European Tour.
The $1 million Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by Public Investment Fund, taking place Thursday 12th – Sunday 15th November, will mark the first LET event to take place in the Kingdom before the $500,000 Saudi Ladies Team International will see professionals and amateurs compete side by side for the first time from 17th – 19th November on the same course.
Among the stars of ladies game making the trip to KSA is Golf Saudi Ambassador Amy Boulden, who secured her maiden title at the VP Bank Swiss Ladies Open earlier this month.
“I’m very proud to represent Golf Saudi at the first Ladies professional golf tournament in the Kingdom,” said Boulden. “I’ve seen first hand how passionate they are about growing women’s golf and sport in KSA. It’s an exciting time and it’s amazing to see this commitment towards women’s golf.”
Golf is coming back to Saudi ️♀️
Get ready for a – golf spectacle with the #SaudiLadiesIntl (12-15 Nov) and the newly announced Saudi Ladies Team International (17-19 Nov).
— Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF (@SaudiLadiesIntl) September 28, 2020
Held within a safe bio-secure environment in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) on the Red Sea coast near Jeddah will be Saudi Arabia’s third and fourth professional golf tournaments in less than two years. The country held the debut Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers in 2019, with Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell winning 2020’s hosting in January.
November’s consecutive tournaments take women’s golf into another new territory and will see players compete for what will be the LET season’s biggest purse after only the British and Scottish Open.
Alexandra Armas, Ladies European Tour, CEO, said: “We are extremely excited to be part of history in bringing the first-ever professional women’s golf event to Saudi Arabia and we are thankful to their commitment to deliver not one but two tournaments, in what has been a difficult year for golf.
“We are always looking to grow the game in new markets and add to our schedule and we are confident that the Saudi Ladies International and the Saudi Ladies Team International will be a fantastic experience for our players.”
Originally planned for March, the four-day Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF will be the Ladies European Tour’s debut event in Saudi Arabia. It will attract more than 100 of the world’s best female golfers, and with a $1million prize fund will be the third highest paying event on the 2020 schedule.
COMMITMENT TO WOMEN’S GOLF
The format of the Saudi Ladies Team International will be revealed in upcoming weeks, with the three-day event set to feature professional players teaming-up with amateur golfers, together competing for a share of a $500,000 prize-fund.
His Excellency Yasir O. Al-Rumayyan, Chairman of the Saudi Golf Federation and tournament organiser Golf Saudi, said: “As we all know the first half of this year has been extremely trying on businesses, organisations and nations worldwide, with sport affected greatly. However, we are thankful to both PIF and Aramco – who are equally determined to give elite level sport the platform to continue to flourish, both here in Saudi Arabia and abroad, and never more so than now – which makes us proud to be throwing our full weight behind both the Saudi Ladies International and the Saudi Ladies Team International.”
Wales’ Boulden, who will be taking part in both of events, added: “This type of commitment to women’s golf is really amazing to see at this time. It’s given players another massive week to look forward to competing in and allows us to take the game we love to a new country where we can play on what is a truly incredible golf course with one of the most picturesque views you’ll see on Tour. To throw their weight behind two events in one week is a really significant gesture from a country I know is passionate about growing golf, and I can’t wait to get out there playing.”
SAUDI VISION 2030
The 27-year-old, who enjoyed a glittering amateur career, bagged her first LET victory since joining the Tour in 2014 with a three- stroke victory over Australia’s Stephanie Kyriacou at Golfpark Holzhausern last month. After getting that monkey off her back she’s relishing kicking on to the crucial final stretch of the season which will see her stop off in the UAE for the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic at Emirates Golf Club from 4th – 6th November en-route to Saudi.
“I felt like my game was trending in the right way even though my results weren’t showing that,” said Boulden who was voted BBC Young Sports Person of the Year in 2008, the same year she became Welsh Girls champion and was part of a record three Home International winning teams. “I’ve been putting in a lot of work over the last year and it’s nice to see that I’m on the right track with what I’m working on. “I think I can take a lot of confidence in getting that first win. I feel my game is in a good place, and over the next few weeks I’m going to get myself as best prepared I can.
The eagerly anticipated tournaments at Royal Greens Golf Club mark the return of large-scale international sporting events to Saudi Arabia, with the country’s Vision 2030 seeking to utilise world-class live sport as a means of inspiring their next generation. Golf and golf tourism are also considered massive growth markets for the country, which is now home to courses designed by the likes of Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus.
Majed Al Sorour, CEO Golf Saudi and the Saudi Golf Federation, said: “Our vision is to grow golf across the Kingdom, and make it both accessible and enjoyable to all men, women and children. One of our key initiatives for this is hosting tournaments capable of drawing the world’s best players as a means of inspiring the next generation of young Saudis and Saudi golfers, so it is a great honour to be taking our next step on that journey by welcoming the Ladies European Tour to the Kingdom for October’s debut Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF and the Saudi Ladies Team International.”
For information about Golf Saudi and the Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF and the Saudi Ladies Team International, please visit: www.golfsaudi.com/en-us/ladies-international/