Innovative new golf format swings in for Saudi Ladies Team International

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England’s Charley Hull, left, and Georgia Hall who will both see action in next month’s Saudi Ladies Team International. (Supplied)
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The 16th hole at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club. (Supplied)
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Updated 16 October 2020

Innovative new golf format swings in for Saudi Ladies Team International

  • Captains to use live NFL-style draft system to select first pro teammate – with random draw for second

JEDDAH: Golf Saudi on Thursday unveiled the format for next month’s debut Saudi Ladies Team International, a first-of-its-kind tournament that will see 36 team captains recruit their players using a live NFL-style draft system, before competing for a share of $500,000 prize money.

To be held  Nov. 17 and 19, the team contest will be the first ever points-earning Ladies European Tour (LET) event where professionals play alongside amateur golfers with team and individual scoring running concurrently.

The event will take place two days after the Kingdom’s maiden women’s golf tournament, the $1 million Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Each captain will recruit one fellow LET pro to their team using a draft system similar to that in NFL, NBA, and other franchise leagues, and can base their pick on anything – whether that be current form, ranking, or purely friendship. Their remaining LET professional teammate will be selected at random, with the team being completed by one amateur player.

The team of four will then play three rounds at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in the Saudi coastal resort of King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), where each team’s best two individual scores will be combined at the end of each round — with amateurs on three quarters of their official playing handicap.

The team with the lowest total score after all three days will be declared the champion and will see its three professionals take home a winning share of the $300,000 prize fund.

The lowest-scoring professional across the three days — who may well come from a losing team — will themselves be rewarded with a share of the $200,000 individual prize fund.

Golf Saudi CEO Majed Al-Sorour, said: “The Saudi Ladies Team International is a completely new and innovative tournament format not seen before on any Tour.

“Alongside the LET, it is a chance to grow the women’s game in new and exciting ways — and follows the first-ever professional women’s golf event to be played in Saudi Arabia earlier in the week.

“The players love team golf and will enjoy this unique opportunity to try a new format through our groundbreaking and exciting
draft system.

“We understand the impact the pandemic has had on Tour golf this year, particularly in the women’s game, so we wanted to do everything we could around the debut Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF to benefit the players across our double-header golf week in making it competitive, fun, and rewarding,” Al-Sorour added.

The Saudi Ladies Team International will hold world-ranking Rolex points for Tour professionals, with Solheim Cup qualification points and Race to Costa del Sol points also up for grabs.

Each day will have a two-tee start, and amateurs — who will be tournament guests — will receive three quarters of their full handicap allowance.

The tournament will be the second event of what has been dubbed Saudi “women’s week of golf,” with the Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF taking place from Nov. 12 to 15 — only the second-ever international, professional women-only sports event held in the Kingdom.

Players already confirmed include Major-winning Georgia Hall, Solheim Cup hero and former LET Order of Merit winner Charley Hull, Wales’ Amy Boulden, and Camilla Lennarth of Sweden. Many more will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

For more information about both the Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF and the Saudi Ladies Team International, visit www.golfsaudi.com/en-us/ladies-international.


‘Loved and appreciated’ Bale starts as Spurs win, Celtic undone by Milan

Updated 32 sec ago

‘Loved and appreciated’ Bale starts as Spurs win, Celtic undone by Milan

PARIS: Gareth Bale said it felt good to be “loved and appreciated” after helping Tottenham to a 3-0 win over LASK of Austria in the Europa League on Thursday.
The Welsh international started his first match since his return from Real Madrid and played for an hour before Jose Mourinho gave him a break.
Bale had come on as a substitute last Sunday with Tottenham 3-0 up against West Ham before his team collapsed to give up a 3-3 draw.
“It is amazing to be back,” Bale told BT Sport on Thursday.
“It is a big reason why I play well and why I came back. You want to be loved and appreciated. I will give everything for this shirt.”
However, he admitted it will take time to find his feet.
“I am a bit stiff. It is like a mini pre-season for me and I am trying to get minutes into the legs,” he said.
Despite Bale starting, it was on-loan Carlos Vinicius who made an impressive debut in the Group J opener.
Vinicius started in place of the resting Harry Kane and he made goals in either half for Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min, while he would have also netted himself had Andres Andrade not scored an own goal.
Bale made that goal where Andrade put through his own net.
Leicester made the perfect start in Group G with a comfortable 3-0 win over Zorya Luhansk of Ukraine.
James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Kelechi Iheanacho were on the scoresheet.
In Glasgow, Celtic struggled against Serie A leaders AC Milan who were 2-0 up at half-time thanks to goals from Rade Krunic and Brahim Diaz.
Mohamed Elyounoussi reduced the arrears after the break, but Jens Petter Hauge broke clear to secure Milan’s Group H 3-1 win in stoppage time.
Milan were so comfortable that they could afford to take off Zlatan Ibrahimovic just after the hour.
Earlier Thursday, Arsenal came from behind to down Rapid Vienna 2-1 and Rangers beat Standard Liege 2-0.
After a goalless first half Arsenal went behind when keeper Bernd Leno fluffed a clearance on a night he will want to forget.
Taxiarchis Fountas capitalized on Leno’s clanger, much to the joy of the 3,000 home fans allowed in to watch under coronavirus safety protocol, but the Gunners then turned the game around in four second half minutes.
David Luiz put them level with a deft glancing header off Nicolas Pepe’s free-kick, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang then tapping home to bag the three Group B points.
It was an eventful night for Mikel Arteta’s side.
Alongside eight yellow cards, there was an eye-catching display from Thomas Partey on his first start since his transfer deadline day move from Atletico Madrid.
A frustrated follower of the game from his London sofa was Mesut Ozil, who has been left out of both Arsenal’s Europa League and Premier League squad.
“When I can’t support on the pitch tonight, I will support in front of the TV in London.” tweeted Ozil.
The other Group B game was being played out in Dublin where Dundalk, only Ireland’s third ever representative in the group stage, were beaten 2-1 by Norwegians Molde.
In Belgium, Steven Gerrard’s Rangers took on Standard Liege fresh from their Old Firm derby win over Celtic which moved them four points clear in the Scottish Premiership last weekend.
James Tavernier scored from the spot after Noe Dussenne handled in the area to put them into a 19th minute lead.
Then three minutes into stoppage time Kemar Roofe produced a wonder goal from the halfway line, the ball flying over the head of bewildered keeper Arnaud Bodart.
Benfica had claimed the first goal of the night and they went on to beat Lech Poznan in Poland 4-2 in the other Group D game.
Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen ran riot 6-2 against French side Nice and Spanish side Granada, in their first ever European campaign, beat PSV Eindhoven 2-1.