Welsh star Amy Boulden has hailed Saudi Arabia’s ability to double-down on its historic Ladies European Tour stop
By Kent Gray
Given how quickly the year has spiralled out of control for golf events around the world, it would have been easy for Saudi Arabia to give up on plans to host its historic women’s event and reset for 2021.
Welsh star Amy Boulden says the Ladies European Tour’s (LET) membership are indebted the Kingdom have not only avoided such a fate but doubled down on their commitment to the women’s game.
The Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi have announced what is being billed as a “landmark LET golf week” next month. It will be headlined by the US$1 million Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF from November 12-15 and followed two days later at Royal Greens Golf Club near Jeddah by a three-day teams event.
The November 17-19 Saudi Ladies Team International will involve a Pro-Am component and bring the total purse for the week to $1.5 million.
Fresh from winning the Swiss Ladies Open in September for her LET breakthrough, Boulden says it is huge news for LET players, many of whom will tee it up in the US$285,000 OMEGA Dubai Moonlight Classic earlier in November before heading to King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).
“This type of commitment to women’s golf is really amazing to see at this time,” said the 27-year-old. “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.”
The Saudi Ladies International, originally planned for March and rescheduled to October due to the coronavirus outbreak before finding the latest November date in the calendar, will be the LET’s third highest paying event in 2020 behind the Women’s (British) Open and Scottish Open. Organisers are promising a “safe bio-secure environment” at both tournaments in KAEC.
“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.”
The tournaments mark the return of large-scale international sporting events to Saudi Arabia as part of the country’s Vision 2030 socio-economic blueprint which has targeted high-level sport as a means of inspiring the Kingdom’s next generation.
His Excellency Yasir O. Al-Rumayyan, Chairman of the Saudi Golf Federation and tournament organiser Golf Saudi, is delighted to have finally locked in the historic week.
“As we all know the first half of this year has been extremely trying on businesses, organisations and nations worldwide, with sport affected greatly,” he said. “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.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Majed Al Sorour, CEO of Golf Saudi and the Saudi Golf Federation. “Our vision is to grow golf across the Kingdom, and make it both accessible and enjoyable to all men, women and children,” said Al Sorour. “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.”