JEDDAH: History was made for women’s golf and the Kingdom when Danish golfer Emily Kristine Pedersen walked off with the first Aramco Ladies International title on November 15.
The $1 million tournament, played at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), was the first time that women’s competitive golf had been played in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Ladies Team International followed a week later and, building on the success of that competition, Saudi Arabia has announced the addition of four new Ladies European Tour (LET) tournaments set to take place this year.
The Aramco Team Series will be held in New York, London, Singapore and KAEC, with each tournament carrying a $1 million prize fund.
The series follows the success of the Aramco Saudi Ladies International, presented by the Public Investment Fund, at Saudi Arabia’s Royal Greens Golf & Country Club last November.
“This is fantastic news for global sport, for women’s golf and for Saudi Arabia,” said Yasir Al-Rumayyan, chairman of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi. “Following the success of the Aramco Saudi Ladies International, we are committed to building the women’s game and promoting female participation in sport in Saudi Arabia. I hope this series inspires people of all cultures and backgrounds to take up the sport and generate enthusiasm for the great game of golf.”
The investment by Aramco, as headline sponsor, along with Golf Saudi and the support of other Saudi partners makes Saudi Arabia one of the biggest backers of the women’s game in Europe today.
The first of the four tournaments will take place in New York, followed by one in London and Singapore before culminating in a season finale at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club.
Ladies European Tour CEO, Alexandra Armas, saw the agreement as the start of a new journey in the history of the LET.
“This brand new Aramco Team Series takes golf and the sport to a whole new level and I am incredibly excited by all four events,” Armas said. “Last November, the LET made history in bringing the first-ever professional women’s golf event to Saudi Arabia, and this announcement only builds on that. By adding four new team events to our schedule for 2021, the Ladies European Tour will add a whole new dynamic for both the players competing and the spectators, taking golf to newly engaged audiences across the globe.”
Ahmed A. Al-Subaey, Aramco vice president of marketing, sales and supply planning, said the oil giant could further advance gender equality and inspire future generations of female sports stars.
“It is another example of our commitment to diversity and inclusion, which is reflected in our many talented female employees, scientists and engineers. Our sponsorship of this golf series not only raises global awareness of our contribution in this field but will also promote positive values associated with the sport among communities in Saudi Arabia and around the world.”
The four tournaments will form an important part of a record-breaking LET schedule, which is set to be announced in the coming weeks.
Teams of four will compete in the tournaments, each one played over 54 holes. Captains will recruit one fellow Tour pro through a draft system similar to the NFL and NBA. Another Tour professional will be selected at random, while all teams will include one amateur player.
Prize money for the winning team will be split between its three pro members.
The Aramco Team Series picks up where last November’s teams event left off, being the first ever regular tour event where scores of amateur competitors have a direct bearing on the final result.