Chris Gardner at Royal Greens for the Aramco Team Series Jeddah. Golf Saudi

American entrepreneur and motivational speaker, Chris Gardner, was ‘blown away’ by the Aramco Team Series, its commitment to female empowerment and breaking boundaries to grow the women’s game.

Gardner, a successful businessman struggled with homelessness while raising his toddler son, soon became a stockbroker and eventually founded his own brokerage firm. The American then published a memoir with the book made into movie hit “The Pursuit of Happyness”, where Will Smith played Gardner.

Gardner is an avid sports fan aiming to cement relationships in the Middle East and visited Royal Greens Golf & Country Club to enjoy the Aramco Team Series after hearing about its commitment to female empowerment and growing the game of golf.

He commented: “I have been blown away by the facilities here and the scale of the Aramco Team Series. The commitment to growing the female game is amazing, and a $1 million prize fund for a tournament, that is changing the game.

“People talk about equality, and the Aramco Team Series is going a long way to achieving that providing these prize funds. With the Aramco Team Series, equality is becoming a reality.”

Following the news the Aramco Saudi Ladies International prize fund will be lifted to $5 million from February to reach parity with the men’s prize fund, Gardner was full of praise for Aramco and Golf Saudi’s continued commitment to female golf.

He added: “What’s exciting for me, I have a granddaughter who if she wants to, could become a world-class athlete. And I am so supportive of this whole idea, everybody should get paid the same thing. Because one day, who knows, she might be in that position.

“You’ve worked just as hard, been just as committed, just as focused, why should you get paid less money? And the Aramco Team Series and Aramco Saudi Ladies International is game changing, it really is.

“I love the game. And I love the global nature of the game, and global includes women. They love the game probably just as much if not more than men and the truth of it is they are probably better.”

Gardner, who achieved such a successful career by pursuing a dream, concluded: “My story is not my story. It’s the story of everyone who ever had a dream. Everybody who ever had a dream and would not quit, it’s not about me, right. And one of the things, most important things that I’m doing with my time right now, is spending time with young people all around the world and giving them what I call, permission to dream.

“These female golfers have had a dream since they were children, and let’s not get it wrong, the Aramco Team Series is allowing them to pursue that dream even more.”

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