In a week where women's golf should be making headlines, it's met with silence. Editor Emma Ballard gives her thoughts

To some, it may seem pointless to keep bringing up the same issues regarding women’s professional golf, or in this case this week’s Aramco Saudi Ladies International (ASLI). But as I reflect upon what I wrote this time last year, I am surprised to find that nothing has changed with regards to media coverage of an event on the women’s golf calendar which is the biggest outside of the Majors on the Ladies European Tour.

For all the rhetoric that surrounds LIV Golf and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in men’s professional golf, it’s deemed that the best plan of attack in the women’s game is to not talk about it at all. How is it possible to have an issue with the source of the money when it’s $600 million for Jon Rahm but not when it's a mere $5 million for a women’s golf event? What’s the monetary value that we have to hit for media and fans to throw their hands in the air and tap away on their keyboards to talk about sports washing and greed?

Contempt for the women's game

Whilst there is opinion piece after opinion piece, week in, week out on the state of the men’s game due to Saudi Arabia’s involvement, this week’s ASLl gets punished with silence. To me, this just shows contempt for the women’s game. It’s got absolutely nothing to do with women needing the funding, which is a lazy line that is thrown around. It’s just straight contempt because many are yet to see the value that the women’s game brings to the golf landscape. When I think about it, this applies to all levels of the game.

Ok, I will put Saudi Arabia specifically aside and look to the tournament itself. As I have said previously, there are other stories this week that would be interesting to highlight and talk about further.

Now, don’t get me wrong I know that no top male pro golfer would contemplate getting out of bed to get their hands on a slice of a $5 million prize fund but this a significant week in professional golf.

Equal prize money

Having equal prize money with the male equivalent competition is something to be celebrated. It’s not just words, this is action to elevate the women’s game. Obviously, there were the financial means to do so in this case but it’s not something that had to be done. It was a conscious act which hasn’t gone unnoticed by the players, including Lexi Thompson:

“The Aramco Saudi Ladies International signifies a significant step forward in advancing the sport, not just in Saudi Arabia but on a global scale, and it's a privilege to be part of an event that advocates for equal prize funds in golf."

This week's field

Talking of Lexi, this brings me to another potential story. This event is not co-sanctioned but features 50 non LET members, which is over 40% of the field.

There is no doubt that a player like Lexi moves the needle and elevates the event but even her presence hasn’t been able to make headlines, on a week when she’s gracing the covers of a UK golf publication.

My initial thoughts were around the missed opportunities for the 50 LET players left out but on speaking to one LET player, who isn’t playing this week, she only saw benefits:

“Sixty LET members playing in Aramco, is still nice to see that they have the majority of the spots are available to members. I get that they want to bring in these top ranked players the best in the world. I think that's good for the LET as well as for us as members of the LET to be competing against the best in the world. The 60/50 representation we have, I think it's fine. To be honest, for me, it gives me a goal in my career to want to be in that top 60 players in the Aramco events.”

These thoughts was backed up by previous ASLI winner Georgia Hall:

"It’s fantastic to have this event and I think it's improved looking at the strength of the field this week, there are a lot of strong players playing. I've always tried to support the event every year and it's one of my favourites to come to. It’s just helping grow the game of golf in this country [Saudi Arabia] and it's doing a lot of good for women's golf in general."

What has to happen?

So, there you have it, there were at least four story angles to take this week, to get the golf world talking. But yet again, I sit here frustrated and find myself wondering what the women’s game has to do when even the most contentious nation in sport and one of golf’s biggest stars can’t claim the headlines.