The Royal Greens at KAEC, near Jeddah. Inset: Amy Boulden with local golfers.
Sep 28: The Ladies European Tour got a massive boost with the announcement of a double-header in Saudi Arabia in November this year. Both events will be held at the Royal Greens Golf Club near Jeddah and will be held in a span of one week.
The four-day $1m prize-fund Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by Public Investment Fund will be the first Ladies European Tour event to take place in the Kingdom, running Thursday 12th – Sunday 15th November. It will be followed by the $ 500,000 Saudi Ladies Team International – a first in women’s golf where professionals and amateurs compete together from November 17 to 19.
The two tournaments will be the first large-scale international sports events to return to Saudi Arabia since the outbreak of COVID-19
The events will be held within a safe bio-secure environment and will feature some of the top Ladies European Tour players in the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC). It will be the first time in women’s golf history that professional players – themselves competing in the Kingdom for the first time – will partner with amateurs in the all-new team and individual format planned for the Saudi Ladies Team International.
Saudi Arabia already hosts the Saudi International powered by SoftBank and has been held in 2019 and 2020. In January 2020, the event was won by Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell.
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 Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF was originally planned for March 2020 but was postponed due to Covid19. It will attract more than 100 of the world’s best women golfers.
The format of the Saudi Ladies Team International will be announced in coming weeks.
Wales’ Amy Boulden will be taking part in both of events, fresh from her maiden LET win at this month’s Swiss Open.
She said: “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.”
A press release from the Saudi Golf Federation, quoted Yasir O. Al-Rumayyan, Chairman of the Federation and tournament organizer, 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.”
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.”