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Eye of Riyadh
Sports | Tuesday 14 January, 2020 2:09 am |
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Behind The Scenes At Royal Greens In Kaec As Golf Becomes The Kingdom’s Latest Sport To Inspire Saudis

Preparations are in full swing for the upcoming Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers with members of the media and influencers given exclusive behind the scenes access and a golfing masterclass from the best players in the Kingdom at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).

Two of Saudi Arabia’s leading golfers Saud Alsharif and Faisal Salhab, who have both qualified for the Saudi International, were in attendance as part of a Saudi National team training camp. Alongside coach Jamie McConnell, the players gave exclusive insight into what he takes to prepare for a major international tournament, what it means for golf in the Kingdom and a golfing induction as well as top tips for aspiring players. 

Alsharif and Salhab will join the world’s best in KAEC later this month with the likes of world number one Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els all playing in the second edition of the Saudi International. 

Speaking at the event, Faisal Salhab said: “I am so excited to be playing in a tournament this prestigious. The quality of the players in the field is something you’d get in a major championship, not your usual week-to-week tournament, so I am extremely grateful, extremely excited, and I am really looking forward to seeing what we can do in front of the big players here in our own backyard.

“To see so many people enjoying their first experience with golf today means so much. When we got into golf, there was no vision for what could come from this sport. That has changed, and we have everything ready now to say: ‘Hello world, we’re ready’.

“Anyone who comes to the Saudi International will have a great time. They’ll see the new Saudi – the future that we’re hoping for. We have the top golfers, the top concerts, a beautiful environment to be around and the promise of some great energy. Come and get hooked by the game.”

The assembled media were also taken on a tour of the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club course - a premier 18-hole championship golf course and clubhouse, boasting a panoramic view of the Red Sea coast as its spectacular natural backdropwhich has seen the venue voted the ‘World’s Best Golf Clubhouse 2019’ and ‘Best Course in Saudi 2019’ by the World Golf Awards.

Saudi International Tournament Director Ben Freeman said: “We are thrilled to be bringing some of the world’s biggest golf icons together with emerging local talent at this award–winning course, welcoming spectators and sport enthusiasts from all over the region. The Saudi International will further enable us to introduce even more people to this wonderful game and make golf even more accessible to the public.”

With world class events already fueling the Kingdom’s excellence in sport including the Diriyah Season, 2020 Dakar Rally and the Spanish Super Cup, the Saudi International will further develop and cement the country’s ambition to increase participation in sport as well as driving tourism. 

The second instalment of the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers will place a special focus on families, community and junior development as the Kingdom looks to develop its golfing pedigree, in addition to a unique entertainment offering in the heart of King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC). 

Ahmed Linjawy, GCEO of KAEC, said: “We are very proud of the two of Saudi Arabia’s leading golfers, Saud Alsharif and Faisal Salhab, participating in the Saudi International Golf Tournament, competing along with the world’s best. The tournament has stimulated a keen interest in the game among the Saudi sports community and this is reflected in the strong vision that Golf Saudi has for growing golf as part of the Kingdom’s overall commitment to develop its leisure and tourism industry in line with Vision 2030.”

Partner support as the tournament heads into its second year remains as strong as ever, with SoftBank Investment Advisers, Saudi Aramco, Public Investment Fund, Saudia, SAMBA, Rolex, Saddik & Mohamed Attar, GIB, STC, Saudi Cargo, UMA Premium, Invest Saudi, Xerox, Mix FM, Al Arabiya, Nespresso and Evian all powering the event.

Enjoy the Ultimate Day Out for golf fans, friends and families with tickets now on sale, priced at 50 SAR per day or 160 SAR for a full tournament pass (four days), exclusive of the concerts. 

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