BANGKOK: Aramco and Golf Saudi, backed by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, are playing a “key” role in developing the women’s game globally, according to Alexandra Armas, CEO of the Ladies European Tour.
Armas said the support has ensured the LET is now recording its strongest season yet.
She was speaking ahead of Thursday’s first day of the Aramco Team Series in Bangkok, presented by the PIF, the newest of the six tournaments on the LET’s annual world schedule, which features top local and international golf stars.
Armas said: “Our partnership with Aramco and Golf Saudi has definitely been key in the development of the Tour over the last few years. I mean, through COVID in 2020, these players only had 19 tournaments and were playing for EUR11 million ($11.4 million). Now, in 2022, we have 34 tournaments and (are) playing for EUR27 million ($28 million). I think Aramco and the Aramco Team Series has been a key player in our success in the last few years, despite COVID.”
The series was introduced to the LET last year as the Tour looked to bounce back from the impact of COVID-19.
It brought with it four new events, worth $1 million each, held in London, the south of Spain, New York and Jeddah — adding a further $4 million to the Tour’s annual prize money.
Now, in tandem with the Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by the PIF, the Kingdom backs no less than six LET events, to the tune of $6 million.
Speaking of the Aramco Team Series tournaments, Armas said: “There is an element to this event that’s very special. The prize money, the setup, we always go to very good golf courses, the staging of the event is also the highest quality.
“But also the format is slightly different to what they play week in and week out, and that makes it very exciting for the players to compete in a slightly different format, which brings a different aspect to the golf course. I think playing as a team and collaborating is something that these players don’t get the opportunity to do very often, and I’ve seen it already from last season the camaraderie that has built between our players.
“So, I think it’s unique, it’s enjoyable, it’s enjoyable for the players, but it’s also very enjoyable for the fans that follow it.”