By Sam Bridge
Ladies European Tour event to take place in Jeddah in March and will offer a $1m prize fund
Saudi Arabia is poised to make sporting history with the announcement of a fully sanctioned Ladies European Tour event set to take place in the kingdom next year.
The tournament, which will carry a $1 million prize fund, will be staged from March 19-22, 2020 in collaboration with Golf Saudi and the Saudi Golf Federation.
The event is a watershed moment for the country where until recently women were not allowed to drive, and will mark the first time that professional female golfers have played competitively in the kingdom, breaking new ground in its ongoing transformation as part of Vision 2030, a statement said.
The 72-hole stroke play competition, which will be broadcast domestically and to more than 340 million homes across more than 55 countries worldwide, will see a field of 108 professionals compete at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, near Jeddah.
Yasir Al-Rumayyan, chairman of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi, said: “We are delighted to be creating history by hosting the inaugural ladies professional tournament in March. I hope the tournament will inspire many women to take up the great game of golf and awaken their interest in this wonderful sport. We warmly welcome all the players to the kingdom and wish everyone a rewarding experience in our magical country.”
Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, which is set within King Abdullah Economic City, also plays host to the European Tour’s Saudi International which made its debut earlier in 2019.
“I am incredibly excited by this announcement and it is an honour for the Tour to be part of history in bringing the first-ever professional women’s golf event to Saudi Arabia,” said Ladies European Tour CEO, Alexandra Armas.
“Confirmation of adding Saudi Arabia to our schedule for 2020 is an exciting prospect for everyone at the Ladies European Tour and having seen the quality of the event staging for the Saudi International, I am sure this will be a fantastic experience for our players.”
Golf Saudi also announced it is working with several female golfing stars to promote golf to domestic audiences and to enhance the visibility of Saudi’s golf development programme and its golf tourism offer internationally.
The UK’s Carly Booth, Amy Boulden and Rachel Drummond, and Swedish pair Camilla Lennarth and Isabella Deilert will each wear the Golf Saudi logo as ambassadors of the programme.sports news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.