Top golfers Lowry, Garcia laud high-quality Saudi International

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Shane Lowry with his caddy enjoys a day out on the seaside Royal Greens Golf & Country Club course in King Abdullah Economic City. (Getty Images)
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Sergio Garcia during a practice round ahead of the Saudi International Golf Tournament. (Getty Images)
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Updated 29 January 2020

Top golfers Lowry, Garcia laud high-quality Saudi International

  • European stars ‘trying to globalize game of golf,’ support ‘exciting’ new events in different markets

JEDDAH: Major winners Sergio Garcia and Shane Lowry have hailed the “exciting” growth of golf in the Kingdom on the eve of the Saudi International.

The second edition of the tournament will see the European pair joined by world No. 1 Brooks Koepka, defending champion Dustin Johnson, US stars Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson, England’s Lee Westwood and Swede Henrik Stenson at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club.

Ten major champions will be among the players competing for $3.5 million in prize money.

Garcia, the 2017 Masters winner and Ryder Cup stalwart, said the Saudi International, powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers, was a fast-growing regional event.

“Everyone is really trying hard to make it a great event, it’s definitely on its way. It just comes down to us to put on a good show.

“The quality of this event is really good. We’re excited to be back here in Saudi. I think it’s very important to support events in new countries. At the end of the day, we are trying to globalize the game of golf.”

The 40-year-old Spaniard added that his game was in a good place for a huge 2020 season for the game, that included the Olympics and a Ryder Cup. “I feel like the short game has been quite solid for both weeks. It’s just a matter of me keeping grinding and improving on every aspect of the game.”

Irish golfer Lowry, the defending Open champion, said the 7,010-yard par 70 layout suited his game, adding that international golf stars were in the fortunate position of having an opportunity to bring the game to new locations and inspire Saudis to take part.

“The golf course is very good, very much a Middle East-style golf course, and something that I liked the look of straightaway. It’s in absolutely perfect condition.

“It’s always cool and interesting to come to new places. I find the European Tour is always like that. Golf’s a great game and we’re very fortunate to do it. People of all standards, ages, sizes get involved and play with other people. That’s why I love the game,” added Lowry.

Saudi Arabia’s leading golfers, professional Othman Almulla, and amateurs Saud Al-Sharif and Faisal Salhab will all be teeing it up Thursday.

US player Reed said: “It’s a special opportunity for the local players to make an impression with the golfing world watching on. It’s awesome seeing players from Saudi playing. I hope they play well.

“Hopefully someone can make the cut for the weekend, because it’s always special time to be here at the weekend in a golf tournament,” he added.

Golf Saudi strikes partnership with the Club Managers Association of Europe

Updated 30 November 2020

Golf Saudi strikes partnership with the Club Managers Association of Europe

  • Educational program will be tailored to support Saudis’ career pathway in and through golf

RIYADH: Golf Saudi and the Club Managers Association of Europe (CMAE) have signed an ambitious new partnership to work together to roll out a certified Arabic language educational program. This is the first of its kind, aimed at encouraging Saudi nationals to pursue a career in golf.

CMAE will set up an education platform in Saudi Arabia, drawing on its industry-renowned approach, to assist Golf Saudi in developing the domestic golf talent pool and ultimately creating new Saudi national certified club managers.

The association is a nonprofit making professional body with members involved in the management of sports clubs, health and fitness clubs and leisure, city and dining clubs in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Commenting on the partnership, CMAE’s director of education, Torbjörn Johansson, said: “Golf Saudi’s pursuit of creating a progressive domestic golf market is asking some big questions of the industry and leading organizations. The domestic plans to not only train up but also equip aspiring talent are a major step and CMAE is proud to be a partner and on-hand to provide the tools and analytic expertise.” 

The CEO of Golf Saudi, Majed Al-Sorour, said: “Our partnership with CMAE is incredibly important for Golf Saudi, but also for the golf industry at large. This is only possible if we are able to upskill our domestic workforce. Golf is good for business and can provide a direct boost to the Kingdom’s GDP, as well as providing lucrative jobs and creating new enterprise. These are exciting times for the golf industry in Saudi Arabia and this agreement with the CMAE helps us to develop a world-class training program that will support young Saudi adults in unlocking the full potential of their future career paths within the golf industry.”

Golf Saudi, a subsidiary of the Saudi Golf Federation, is committed to delivering a national development program that transforms the golfing landscape and aims to create 3,700 jobs by 2030.

Since its formation in 2018, Golf Saudi has embarked on an ambitious national golf strategy, which has worked to support the Kingdom’s impressive Vision 2030. This agreement recognizes the importance of training the next generation of Saudis to meet expected future demand, particularly from international tourists, enhancing Saudi Arabia as a golfing destination.