Our guide to the inaugural Saudi Ladies International and Saudi Ladies Team International.
While for many this is ‘Masters Week’, another hugely significant golf event is happening over on the women’s Tour at exactly the same time.
Perhaps we are biased, but we’d say the Aramco Saudi Ladies International and Saudi Ladies Team International are even MORE important than the Masters in many ways.
For some, the back-to-back tournaments in the Kingdom are a rather contentious subject, and you can read Harriet Shephard’s analysis of the complicated issues behind the landmark events HERE.
But, whether you think it’s a positive step forward for women’s golf and women’s rights in Saudi Arabia or not, the next couple of weeks still look set to be an incredible display of talent, featuring at utterly brilliant course and many of the best players from across the globe.
This is everything you need to know about the Ladies European Tour’s fortnight of golf in Saudia Arabia.
The Saudi Ladies International
One million USA dollars is up for grabs this week at the Saudi Ladies International (November 12 to 15), with a further $500,000 added to the pot next week for the Saudi Ladies Team International (November 17 to 19).
The events mark the first time that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has ever hosted women’s professional golf, and the world-class 108 player field contains a mix of LET and LPGA players.
The course at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club looks utterly pristine, with highlights including the stunning backdrop of sparkling blue water on the 16th hole.
The big names playing
Famous faces taking part include two-time major winner Anna Nordqvist, LET Legend Trish Johnson, notorious big hitter and Sophia Popov’s bestie Anne Van Dam and many of our favourite British stars including Charley Hull, Georgia Hall, Amy Boulden, Alice Hewson and Carly Booth.
Another important player teeing off this week is the first Arabic woman to ever join the LET, Maha Haddioui.
The 32-year-old turned professional in 2012, and she is thrilled to represent Morocco in Saudi Arabia, a country that she never thought she’s be playing professional golf in.
Maha said: “Winning anywhere would be special but it would mean a lot more to happen here in an Arab country. I love the course, I love the place and feel really welcome here. I am so grateful to be able to have picked up the game and it has changed my life, I’d love for other Arab women to be able to pursue this and enjoy the opportunities that I have had.”
How to watch
Coverage of the event will be streamed live on the LET website.
So, if you fancy escaping the grey skies and partly golf-free life of the UK for a while, you can tune in and live through the best female players in the world for a while.
Coverage timings are:
- Thursday & Friday – 1030 – 1330 GMT
- Saturday – 0900 – 1200 GMT
- Sunday – 1000 – 1300 GMT
The first group are out at 6:50am local time with Charley Hull, Anne Van Dam and Anna Nordqvist leading the charge… we can’t wait to watch that!
You can see all the start times HERE.
The team part
Once the tournament concludes on Sunday, the fun is far from over.
The Saudi Ladies Team International kicks off on Tuesday, so the players have just a day to recover and enjoy the Middle Eastern hospitality before they’re straight back into competing.
The innovative format features an NFL-style team draft, with 36 teams of four.
Each team captain recruits one fellow Tour player and has one Tour player chosen for them at random. Finally, the fourth member of the team will be made up by an amateur player.
Each team plays three rounds at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club with the best two individual scores from each combined at the end of each round (amateurs will receive ¾ of their official playing handicap).
The team with the lowest total score after all three days will be declared champions and the three professionals on that team will take home a winning share of the $300,000 prize fund.
Meanwhile, the lowest scoring professional, who may well come from another team, will also get $200,000 as the individual prize.
It’s a totally new and exciting format and it sounds great fun.
After all, what’s more exciting than team golf?