Jeddah: Golf Saudi has unveiled the format for next month’s debut Saudi Ladies Team International — a first of its kind tournament that will see 36 team captains recruit their players using a live ‘NFL-style’ draft system, before competing for a share of $500,000 (Dh1.84 million) prize money.
To be held from November 17-19, the team contest will be the first-ever points-earning Ladies European Tour (LET) event where professionals play alongside amateur golfers with team and individual scoring running concurrently.
The event will take place two days after Saudi Arabia’s maiden women’s golf tournament, the $1 million Saudi Ladies International.
Each captain will recruit one fellow Tour pro to their team using a draft system similar to that in NFL, NBA and other franchise leagues, and can base their pick on anything — whether that be current form, ranking or purely friendship. Their remaining Tour professional teammate will be selected at random, with the team being completed by one amateur player.
The team of four will then play three rounds at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in the Saudi coastal resort of King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), where each team’s best two individual scores will be combined at the end of each round — with amateurs using receiving three-quarters of their official playing handicap.
The team with the lowest total score after three days will be champions and will see its three professionals take home a winning share of the $300,000 prize fund.
The lowest scoring professional across the three days — who may well come from a losing team — will themselves be rewarded with a share of the $200,000 individual prize fund.
Golf Saudi CEO, Majed Al Sorour, said: “The Saudi Ladies Team International is a completely new and innovative tournament format not seen before on any Tour. Alongside the LET, it is a chance to grow the women’s game in new and exciting ways — and follows the first-ever professional women’s golf event to be played Saudi Arabia earlier in the week. The players love team golf and will enjoy this unique opportunity to try a new format through our ground-breaking and exciting draft system.
“We understand the impact the pandemic has had on Tour golf this year, particularly in the women’s game, so we wanted to do everything we could around the debut Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF to benefit the players across our double header ‘golf week’ in making it competitive, fun and rewarding.”
The Saudi Ladies Team International will hold world-ranking Rolex points for Tour professionals, with Solheim Cup qualification points and Race to Costa del Sol points also up for grabs.
Players already confirmed include Major-winning Georgia Hall, Solheim Cup hero and former LET Order of Merit winner Charley Hull, Wales’ Amy Boulden and Camilla Lennarth of Sweden. Many more will be announced in the upcoming weeks.