Saudi Arabia tees off as Riyadh joins golf’s premier club

Yasir Al-Rumayyan, center, governor of the Public Invest Fund, hosted FII Golf Day. Below: California-based Troy Mullins tees-off at FII Pro-Am. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 01 November 2019

Saudi Arabia tees off as Riyadh joins golf’s premier club

  • Discussions highlight plans to turn the Kingdom into a dynamic new frontier for the sport

JEDDAH: Golf — one of the world’s oldest sports — believes Saudi Arabia will become one of its newest and most lucrative markets following Future Investment Initiative (FII) talks in Riyadh.

Investment forum discussions on golf’s global future highlighted plans to turn the Kingdom into a dynamic new frontier for the sport.

The FII, which brought together decision makers, leading investors and global experts to explore economic trends and opportunities, turned its attention to the golf industry with a series of events. 

An expert panel led by Majed Al-Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation, discussed the future of golf, and its role in leisure, tourism, sport and urban development, both internationally and in the Kingdom. 

“This has been a great few days for golf in Saudi,” said Al-Sorour. “By putting the game on the agenda at a high-profile business event such as this, we have again demonstrated our commitment. Having so many leading lights attend from around the world — both players and industry professionals — is a real statement of intent and a valuable exercise.

“We look forward to driving the game forward not only here but also around the world.”

The panel on Thursday included four-time major champion and former world No. 1 Ernie Els, European Tour boss Keith Pelley, and women’s European Tour winner Camilla Lennarth. 

“The Middle East has always been an important part of our schedule,” said Pelley, who joined the European Tour in 2015.

“The climate here is terrific, the amenities are first-rate and the golf courses are exceptional,” he said.

“Golf Saudi wants to use the game to transform the country and there is no question that Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of helping us to develop the game. Our game is so much about inclusivity and it is fantastic that the Saudi Golf Federation shares that vision.” 

Panellists were joined by well-known professional golfers and leading industry figures for reception in the heart of Riyadh — a chance to relax before heading out on the course the following day.

A “Golf Means Business” pro-am at Nofa Golf Resort outside Riyadh on Friday was hosted by Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Public Investment Fund (PIF). 

The event featured Els along with Thomas Bjorn and Catriona Matthew, Europe’s respective successful Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup captains; Jose Maria Olazabal, a two-time Masters Tournament champion; and women’s European Tour stars, including Carly Booth, Isabella Deilert, Annabel Dimmock, Victoria Fricot, Maha Haddioui, Camilla Lennarth and Frida Spang.

The pro-am rounded off the investment forum’s three-day program of events. 

The Saudi Golf Federation is responsible for the sport’s development and for delivering national tournaments in the Kingdom. Based in Riyadh, the federation is a full member of the Council of National Golf Unions.

Brighton boost hopes of Premier League survival

Updated 04 July 2020

Brighton boost hopes of Premier League survival

  • Saturday’s result leaves Norwich in grave danger of relegation

LONDON: Norwich manager Daniel Farke conceded his side are heading for relegation after Leandro Trossard fired Brighton to a 1-0 win at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Trossard netted in the first half to move Brighton nine points clear of the relegation zone before the bulk of the weekend’s matches.

Brighton’s second win in four games since the restart puts them in position beat the drop, but the picture is much bleaker for Norwich.

With five matches left, Norwich are seven points from safety after losing all five games following the coronavirus hiatus.

Farke knows Norwich’s chances of avoiding an immediate return to the Championship are almost over, especially with games against Chelsea and Manchester City still to come.

“It was more or less our last chance to get back in the mix and we are disappointed,” he said.

“The story of our game was the story of our season, we didn’t find the cutting edge and we then make a big mistake.

“After a few losses, we don’t have the right to make any fighting messages or to make any unrealistic claims.

“We are not naive, let’s show our pride. It is important we learn for the future. I will pick them up.”

Farke dropped Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell, even though the pair had scored 68 percent of his team’s goals this season.

The move was criticized by some Norwich fans, but Finland forward Pukki, who had netted 11 times this term, was without a goal in 10 games dating back to January.

Norwich started brightly with their changed lineup and Onel Hernandez fired over from long-range after an incisive break.

But Brighton wrestled back control and had a penalty appeal turned down by VAR when Trossard tumbled under pressure.

Brighton made the most of their dominant spell as Trossard struck in the 25th minute.

Aaron Mooy whipped over a low cross from the right and Trossard made a perfectly timed run to the near post, where the Belgian midfielder slotted past Tim Krul for his fourth goal of the season.

Norwich had lost all 19 Premier League games this season in which they have conceded first.

The y were the only team in the top-flight yet to pick up a point from a losing position and their frustration mounted as Hernandez miscued wide.

Brighton almost put the came beyond their reach when Mooy’s free-kick hit team-mate Dan Burn and deflected narrowly wide.

Norwich’s Josip Drmic shot straight at Mat Ryan from a good position before Farke sent on Pukki and Cantwell with 23 minutes left.

There was no lack of effort from Norwich, but their luck was out in stoppage-time when Adam Idah glanced a header against the inside of the far post and Brighton cleared the danger.