Sport - Golf - Georgia Hall
Georgia Hall (Eng) will defend her Saudi International title next month on the LET Image Credit: Supplied

The Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by Public Investment Fund (PIF), to be held Thursday 16th – Sunday 19th February, 2023, has confirmed there will be a total of 13 major champions competing in the history-making 70 player field event, with a prize purse of $5 million.

Major winners include three-time major champion and last year’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winner In Gee Chun, multiple major champion Anna Nordqvist, world no. seven Lexi Thompson and defending champion Georgia Hall.

Other major champions who are competing at the event are:

• Ashleigh Buhai (2022 AIG Women’s Open)

• Patty Tavatanakit (2021 ANA Inspiration)

• Kim A-Lim (2020 U.S. Women’s Open)

• Hannah Green (2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship)

• Jeong Eun Lee6 (2019 U.S. Women’s Open)

• Danielle Kang (2017 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship)

• Lydia Ko (2016 ANA Inspiration; 2015 Evian Championship)

• Hyo-Joo Kim (2014 Evian Championship)

• Ji Eun-Hee (2009 U.S. Women’s Open)

These 13 major champions, who hold 18 major titles between them, are part of a star-studded field that is set to be the event’s strongest line up, with more top stars set to be announced over the following weeks.

The Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF is the third stop in a record-breaking 2023 Ladies’ European Tour (LET) season, featuring 30 events across 21 countries with a total prize fund of €35 million up for grabs.

The ground breaking event made waves around the world last year following the announcement of its commitment to women’s golf through a prize purse boost to $5 million, which is the largest prize purse outside of the majors and matches the men’s event, the PIF Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers.

Another major winner and top-10 player competing at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF is America’s Lexi Thompson. The world no. 7 ended her three-year title drought by winning the LET’s Aramco Team Series individual title in New York. In addition to the win in her home country, the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship title holder also notched seven top-10 finishes in 2022.

As a player who has openly voiced her thoughts on equality in the game of golf, Thompson said, ‘Equal pay in golf has been something that all of us in the women’s game have wanted for so long, so seeing that huge prize purse increase at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF to match the men’s tournament was extremely heartening. For us, it’s always been about feeling equal and we are all focused on growing the game to leave in a much better place for future generation of female golfers.’

Crowd favourite and defending Champion Georgia Hall is one of the many top players who are excited to make their return to the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City, where she created many fond memories last year by winning the Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF title.

The world no. 24 and 2018 Ricoh Women’s British Open winner added, ‘It was great to win early in the season last year and I hope to defend my title this year. I’m a fan of the place and enjoy playing on this course as it suits my game well.

‘Playing in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East gives me much confidence as I’ve done well in past competitions. The treatment we get during event week is absolutely top-notch and makes it much easier to put up great performances on the course for the fans.’

On the prize purse boost, the 26 year-old added, ‘It’s a massive boost for the women’s game, and it also goes beyond golf as it’s what women in sport deserve. We are all thoroughly grateful to Golf Saudi for what it’s doing for women’s golf.

‘I’ve personally seen how the Aramco Team Series and Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF events have grown and developed every time I’m here, and I’m confident that it will continue on this path.’