As Saudi Arabia prepares to host its first Ladies European Tour golf tournament this week, Moroccan golfer Maha Haddioui is optimistic. The golfer who is the first and only Arab woman on the Ladies European Tour, wants the focus to be on positive changes in Saudi Arabia.
The purse for the Ladies European Tour is one of the biggest, at $1 million.
— Ladies European Tour (@LETgolf) November 11, 2020
It’s unconventional to see such a big event in the Middle East. The tournament starts on Thursday at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in Saudi Arabia and it’s a momentous occasion for Arab nationals.
Haddioui says this is a new page for women in Saudi Arabia.
“I’m just very happy. I mean, this is a new page on the schedule. It’s a new page for women’s golf. It’s a new page for women in Saudi and I’m really happy and proud to be a part of that, you know. As you said, the only Arabic player for now. It’s really something I’m proud of and I’m really proud to represent my region and that Saudi is making this step forward. It’s a big tournament. It’s a big statement.”
The Moroccan, who will compete in a field of 108 players, is also excited for the Middle East region.
“I would say this for a country or a person or situation, you know. It’s the way you decide to look at things. I mean, to me, it’s a huge improvement. You can always – no matter where you go in the world – you can decide to look at the flaws or you can decide to look at what’s getting better, what’s improving. And to me, it’s definitely half full because Saudi is making huge improvements. It’s opening to the world with women.”
The 32-year-old is also grateful for the opportunities she has had access to, including studying in the United States, which led to her becoming a professional golfer.
The 72-hole stroke play tournament will be played from Thursday to Sunday. That will be followed by the Saudi Ladies Team International tournament next week.