Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: With four weeks to go until the conclusion of the inaugural Saudi Ladies International, preparations are well underway for this watershed moment. The first professional women’s golf tournament in the Kingdom, the Ladies European Tour (LET) event will mark the first time that professional female golfers have played competitively in the country, breaking new ground in its on-going transformation as part of Vision 2030.
Names already entered, include Order of Merit winner Beth Allen, three-time LET winner Carly Booth and Solheim Cup winner Azahara Munoz.
To take place at Jeddah’s Royal Greens Golf & Country Club from March 19-22, the tournament will carry a US$1 million prize fund and will be staged in collaboration with Golf Saudi and the Saudi Golf Federation, an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
The 72-hole stroke play competition will be broadcast domestically and to more than 340 million homes across more than 55 countries. A field of 108 professionals will contest for one of the richest prizes on the LET schedule.
“Our engagement with the Ladies European Tour is really crucial,” said Majed Al Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi.
“At Golf Saudi we are looking for equality and that’s why we reached out to the LET in order to host this tournament. Women should be able to compete on their own platform and that is why we focused on the prize money for the inaugural Saudi Ladies International. We felt past amounts weren’t sufficient and that is how we came up with the decision to make it US$1 million. We wanted to send a message to our women and our daughters that we are looking for equality and golf can be a vehicle to achieve this.”
Next month’s event will showcase Saudi Arabia’s natural assets, as well as prioritising the country’s drive to increase golf participation significantly in the years to come, particularly among young women, as part of Golf Saudi’s ‘Ladies First’ campaign.
The Kingdom already has a strong track record when it comes to staging high-level sporting fixtures, including major football, boxing, motorsport and equestrian events.
“Golf Saudi’s approach has been very clever in terms of growing the game,” said Alexandra Armas, the LET’s CEO. “By hosting the first-ever Saudi Ladies International and bringing in big stars, they’re drawing in the right attention and are opening a window into what the Kingdom has to offer for both players and visitors alike.”
Set within King Abdullah Economic City, Royal Greens Golf & Country Club has had a busy start to 2020, having already hosted the European Tour’s Saudi International powered by Softbank Investment Advisers, won in dramatic fashion by Graeme McDowell, his first European Tour title since 2014.