Saudi Arabia’s commitment to golf growth reaffirmed at sport summit

The inaugural Golf Saudi Summit ended on Tuesday. (SPA)
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Updated 04 February 2020

Saudi Arabia’s commitment to golf growth reaffirmed at sport summit

  • It has been fantastic to have so many of the industry’s leading figureheads attend the inaugural Golf Saudi Summit

KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY: The inaugural Golf Saudi Summit ended on Tuesday with the final three sessions from leading industry executives on the development of golf.

The final day of the summit included separate debates on “Pioneering Environmental Practices,” “The Power of Partnerships” and “The Modern Era.”

Helmed by three of the world’s most renowned experts on the subject, Andy Johnston, general manager at Sentosa GC; Richard Walne, president of the Asian Golf Industry Federation; and Lee Penrose, executive director at STRI, the first panel debated how golf could become more environmentally conscious and adapt in the face of growing climate change concerns.

The penultimate session of this year’s event led by Golf Saudi COO Ed Edwards, “The Power of Partnerships” saw Darshan Singh, educator at the Club Managers Association of Europe; Mark Adams, executive director, Faldo Enterprises; and John Holmes, president, Atlas Turf Management, discuss how important it is to identify foundations which help Saudi Arabia develop its grassroots golf program, environmental sustainability as well as ensuring successful business partnerships are secured.

Then, to close, “The Modern Era” explored how innovative technologies can bring new interest to golf and that Saudi Arabia should look to leverage Top Golf to drive interest in the game. Speakers in the final panel included leading golf coach David Leadbetter; Chris May, CEO of Dubai Golf; Jun Hwan Kim, president of Golfzon; and Ian Randell, CEO at the Confederation of Professional Golf.

Speaking at the conclusion of the Golf Saudi Summit, Majed Al-Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi, said:

“It has been fantastic to have so many of the industry’s leading figureheads attend the inaugural Golf Saudi Summit and provide insights that could provide the basis to help further expand the development of golf in Saudi Arabia. 

“Holding an event like this will allow Golf Saudi to create new ideas that can be used to attract more people within the Kingdom to play golf and give them the access and infrastructure they need to learn the game.”

Other headline names that spoke at the summit included: Major winners Gary Player and Greg Norman as well as award-winning golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Tim Schantz, CEO of Troon. Saudi stakeholders who attended included Mike Reininger, CEO of Qiddiya, and John Pagano, CEO of the Red Sea Development Company.


Lights on, players off: Pakistan’s Rizwan shines on frustrating day

Updated 15 August 2020

Lights on, players off: Pakistan’s Rizwan shines on frustrating day

  • ’I was ready to play but the decision rests with the umpires, and they have the responsibility to ensure no one gets injured,’ said Rizwan
  • Victory in this match would put England 2-0 up in a three-match campaign

SOUTHAMPTON, United Kingdom: Mohammad Rizwan was left frustrated when having shone for Pakistan with a fine unbeaten fifty in the second Test against England at Southampton on Friday, he was forced to leave the field for bad light.
Pakistan were 223-9 at stumps on the second day, with Rizwan 60 not out just as he started to up the tempo of his innings with only last man Naseem Shah for company.
Even though the Ageas Bowl floodlights were on, the umpires took the players off the field 10 minutes after tea with bad weather, as it did on Thursday, causing several interruptions.
This was the latest example of bad light stopping play in a Test even when floodlights are in use.
Whereas batsmen could once stay on even if ‘offered’ the light by the umpires, since 2010 the match officials alone decide to halt a Test should they deem the conditions too dark.
“I was ready to play but the decision rests with the umpires, and they have the responsibility to ensure no one gets injured,” Rizwan told reporters after marking Pakistan’s Independence Day with a second fifty in eight career Tests following his 95 against Australia in Brisbane in November.
“They have to go by the light meter. It’s the same for both teams,” added the wicket keeper, who impressed behind the stumps during Pakistan’s three-wicket defeat in last week’s first Test at Old Trafford.
Pakistan were in danger of being dismissed for under 200 at 176-8.
But Mohammad Abbas gave Rizwan staunch support with two off 20 balls during a stand of 39 before he was lbw to Stuart Broad.
Fortunately for the umpires, in a series being played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus, there were no angry spectators present when they decided it was unsafe to continue.
“We’re a little bit frustrated we didn’t get a chance to finish them off,” said England great James Anderson, whose return of 3-48 left him just seven shy of becoming the first paceman to take 600 wickets in Tests.
“The light has been gloomy all day but it’s one of those when it didn’t seem like the batsmen were struggling too much.”
Anderson was skeptical about using a different colored ball to keep Test-match play going under floodlights, suggesting instead that officials be given a “bit more leeway” in their use of light meters.
Meanwhile new-ball colleague Broad sympathized with umpires Michael Gough and Richard Kettleborough.
“It’s a tricky one because player safety is very important,” said Broad after a return of 3-56 in 25 overs saw him become the seventh England bowler to take three wickets in seven consecutive Test innings.
“As bowlers you’re keen to bowl all the time,” especially in conditions like today.
“The officials were right to bring us off...all of our fielders were saying we wouldn’t want to bat in this, this is quite dark,” he added.
In overcast conditions ideally suited to England’s four-man pace attack, Pakistan creditably did not lose a wicket in the hour’s play that was possible in a morning session curtailed by rain to be 155-5 at lunch.
Babar Azam, in for nearly two-and-a-half hours, was eventually undone for 47 when he edged a fine Broad delivery that moved late to wicket keeper Jos Buttler.
But Buttler could not hold a difficult legside chance when Rizwan, on 14, miscued a hook off Broad.
Pakistan were, though 176-8 when Shaheen Afridi was run out without scoring by Dom Sibley.
Rizwan, however, cleverly uppercut left-arm paceman Sam Curran over the slips for four before driving Chris Woakes through extra-cover for another boundary.
England took the new ball but, bizarrely, kept six fielders back to Rizwan, who still completed a 104-ball fifty featuring four fours.
Victory in this match would put England 2-0 up in a three-match campaign and see them to their first series win over Pakistan since 2010.