Dubai: Saudi Arabia’s leg of the Ladies European Tour kicked off Thursday with a prize of $1 million up for grabs in the latest push by the kingdom to host major sports and entertainment events.
The tournament is sponsored by Saudi Arabia’s oil company, Aramco, and runs until Sunday. It will be followed by a women’s team tournament for a shared prize of $500,000.
The event is being held at a country club in King Abdullah Economic City, a Western-friendly business hub north of the Red Sea city of Jiddah. The scenic golf course sits alongside the blue waters of the sea.
Women in the kingdom are also being encouraged to play sports and exercise. Saudi Arabia also just launched an initiative offering a complimentary membership inclusive of golf lessons and golf course access in Riyadh and King Abdullah Economic City to 1,000 Saudi women.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, emboldened by his father King Salman, is pushing through broad social reforms to help draw greater foreign investment, modernise the economy and open Saudi Arabia to tourists.
As part of that effort, Saudi Arabia announced plans to host a Formula One race next year.