World’s leading players, rights holders and business leaders witness Kingdom’s commitment to growing the game both at home and abroad
Golf Saudi has reaffirmed its status as one of the world’s most dynamic new golf markets after a series of industry events at the Future Investment Initiative (FII).
Held in the Kingdom’s capital city, Riyadh, the three-day programme of events was an opportunity for global leaders, investors and innovators to debate the future of global investment across several important sectors, including the golf industry.
Central to this was an expert panel discussion, featuring Majed Al-Sorour, CEO of both the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi; Ernie Els, a four-time Major Champion and former World Number One; Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour and Camilla Lennarth, a Ladies European Tour winner.
“This week has been a fantastic showcase for the Kingdom and proof that golf in Saudi really does mean business,” said Al-Sorour, who was instrumental in the staging of the inaugural Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers this year. “Not only was this the perfect time to debate the issues in the game today, it was a fantastic opportunity to talk about solutions and the role emerging markets such as Golf Saudi can play in that. This is an exciting time for the sport.”
Debating the issues at the heart of the golf industry, in addition to their preferred solutions, this was also an opportunity to discuss the role that a dynamic new market such as Saudi Arabia can play in influencing the future direction of golf – both in the Kingdom itself and internationally.
“The Middle East has always been a very important part of our schedule,” said Pelley, who first joined the European Tour in 2015. “The climate here is terrific, the amenities are first-rate, and the golf courses are exceptional. Golf Saudi wants to use the game to transform the country and there is no question that Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of helping us to develop the game. Our game is so much about inclusivity and it’s fantastic that the Saudi Golf Federation shares that vision.”
The expert panel was followed by a welcome reception attended by Saudi dignitaries alongside a host of leading professional golfers and industry stakeholders. The following day on Friday, the first ‘Golf Means Business’ Pro-Am was held at Nofa Golf Resort outside Riyadh and was hosted by His Excellency Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Governor of the Public Investment Fund (PIF).
The Pro-Am Golf Day was not only an opportunity for FII attendees to relax after a busy three days of intense discussion and debate, it also allowed business leaders to play alongside some of the game’s biggest professional names.
Teeing it up alongside Els, a two-time Champion Golfer of the Year, and Lennarth, a prominent female professional, there were several other prominent players, including Thomas Bjorn and Catriona Matthew, respective winning Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup captains; Jose Maria Olazabal, a two-time Masters Tournament Champion; and a host of Ladies European Tour stars, including Carly Booth, Isabella Deilert, Annabel Dimmock, Victoria Fricot, Maha Haddioui and Frida Spang.
After some fierce competition, it was Camilla Lennarth’s team who triumphed, coming out on top to wrap-up an historic day and claim the inaugural FII International Pro-Am title. Commenting on her victory, Camilla Lennarth, Ladies European Tour winner commented:
“Just when I thought this week couldn’t get any better, first hearing about the potential new Ladies European Tour event taking place here [Saudi Arabia] in March 2020, to then being crowned inaugural champion at this wonderful new event. The FII International Pro-Am at the Nofa Golf Resort has been fantastic, my experiences in Saudi Arabia continue to get better and better. I’d like to thank His Excellency Yasir Al-Rumayyan for hosting such a memorable occasion and I already can’t wait to come back.”
The Future Investment Initiative, now in its third year, is an international platform for expert-led debate between global leaders, investors and innovators with the power to shape the future of global investment. It is focused on utilizing investment to drive growth opportunities, enable innovation and disruptive technologies, while addressing global challenges.
For more information on Golf Saudi, visit: www.golfsaudi.com
PRESS RELEASE; C/O Performance54
COVER PIC; H.E. Yasir Al-Rumayyan Governor of the PIF hosts ‘Golf Means Business’ Pro-Am at Nofa Golf Resort