Speculation that the Saudi Government is behind a breakaway Premier Golf League (PGL) has now led to confirmation that the mega-rich Arab nation’s ambition is to seek a second European Tour event, a first PGA Tour event and also a maiden hosting of an Asian Tour event plus the staging of the World Cup of Golf.
The day after Graeme McDowell holed the winning putt to capture the second Saudi International, the Saudi Golf Federation played host to the Golf Saudi Summit.
The summit has attracted many of the ‘movers and shakers’ in world golf along with the Major-winning duo of Gary Player and Greg Norman who will no doubt figure in designing their first golf courses in Saudi Arabia. The Summit concludes Tuesday and is being staged in the King Abdullah Economic City.
Under government-backed initiatives, golf is set to skyrocket with the country planning to grant approval for the construction of 28 courses as part of their ‘Vision 2030′.
Majed Al Sorour, CEO of Saudi Government run Saudi Golf Federation, who answers directly to His Excellency Yasir O. Al-Rumayyan – Chairman of the Saudi Golf Federation, confirmed the country’s drive to become a prime golfing destination.
“We’re in communication with the Asian Tour, we’d like to have one, we’re in communication with the [European] Tour, to have a second round but I cannot really announce it yet but I think we will have another one very soon announced,” said Al Sorour.
“We have the Ladies European Tour and as you know they merged together with the LPGA so hopefully we get to the point where we have a LPGA.
“And, of course, we’d love to have a PGA Tour event. One and a half years ago I sat with Ty Votaw, Executive Vice-President, PGA Tour) and had a great conversation on having an idea of putting a PGA Tour event in Saudi Arabia.
“One of the things that we also want to discuss with him is a World Cup and how we’re going to do that in Saudi Arabia if that’s possible.”
However, Al Sorour would not be drawn into conversation around whether the country is financially backing the proposed PGL Tour.
“We should just listen to the people who are leading it, sit down with the PGA Tour if the time permits or doesn’t,” he said.
“We’re not here to do anything; we’re just here to listen. We love the game and our love for the game will do whatever it takes to make the game great.”
And when asked his reaction to both the PGA Tour and European Tour emailing every member of both tours regarding the proposed loss of Tour status should a player join the PGL, Al Sorour ended the interview.
“That’s news to me and besides, I cannot really comment on the PGA Tour. I’m not part of it so I don’t know,” he said.