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LPGA stars, major champions highlight Saudi Ladies International field

LPGA stars, major champions highlight Saudi Ladies International field

The Aramco Saudi Ladies International has announced that 13 major winners will be included in this year’s field, highlighted by World No. 1 Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson, In Gee Chun, Danielle Kang and defending champ Georgia Hall.

The event, which is the presented by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, takes place Feb. 16-19 at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club and features an upgraded purse of $5 million. More LPGA stars are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

The 120-player field will feature 60 Ladies European Tour players, 50 from the top 300 in the Rolex Rankings and a maximum of 10 sponsor invites. The winner will receive $750,000.

The tournament’s purse is up from $1 million last year and now matches the men’s event, the PIF Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers, which will be held Feb. 2-5 at Royal Greens.

“Equal pay in golf has been something that all of us in the women’s game have wanted for so long,” said Thompson in a release, “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.”

In addition to the Aramco Saudi Ladies International, the 2023 LET schedule also features the Aramco Team Series, comprised of five events staged across the globe. Winners of those events last year include LPGA players Bronte Law, Nelly Korda and Thompson.

The LET’s Saudi-backed events remain controversial given the wide-ranging human rights abuses Saudi Arabia has been accused of, especially toward women.

The 13 major winners in the Saudi Ladies International field boast 18 major titles between them.

Chun, a three-time major major winner, will make her first trip to Saudi Arabia later this month.

“I’m excited to finally visit Saudi Arabia,” Chun said in a release. “I’m also looking forward to an event that is expected to elevate women’s golf in all parts of the global community. It will definitely be a great early season challenge with a very strong field competing.”

Added Hall: “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.

The Ladies European Tour begins its 2023 season this week…


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