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Saudi Arabia

LET announces $1 million Saudi Arabia tournament

The LET will be heading to Saudi Arabia for the first time next year
 

It’s one of the most controversial places on the planet to stage a sporting event – but now the Ladies European Tour are the latest organisation to take the plunge in Saudi Arabia.

In March, the tour will follow boxing, snooker, wrestling and the men’s European Tour when they tee it up for the first time.

Royal Greens Golf and Country Club will host the event, which will boast a prize fund of $1 million. That’s the second biggest pot on the LET, with only the Scottish Open offering more cash.

The fund is between double and quadruple the size of other regular tour stops.

But despite the LET tournament taking place on the same course as the men’s, and both being supported by the Saudi Golf Foundation, there is a clear gulf in prize money.

The total prize for the men is more three and a half times as much at $3.5 million. Several reports have suggested top players have also been offered, or could receive, large appearance fees.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are two high-profile players who have turned down the offer to play in the tournament, despite reportedly being offered $3 million and $2.5 million in appearance fees respectively.

It is yet to be seen whether a similar approach will be taken at the women’s event to draw the world’s best to Saudi Arabia.

A group of LET players will be ambassadors for Golf Saudi in a bid to help increase participation. Among those who will sport the logo are Carly Booth, Amy Boulden and Camilla Lennarth.

Speaking of the announcement, Booth said: “I’m looking forward to being part of history with the other ladies on the tour and of course to compete over the Royal Greens course.

“I have visited Saudi on a number of occasions and have been lucky enough to spend some time teaching local women and girls how to play.”

Joe Hughes

Tour editor covering men's golf, women's golf and anything else that involves the word golf, really. The talk is far better than the game, but the work has begun to change that.

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