Saudi Arabia will host its first female professional golf tournament in November with competitors being allowed to wear mid-calf or three-quarter length “cut away” trousers and short-sleeved polo shirts despite the kingdoms strict dress code.
The tournament was originally set to take place in March but was postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak and will now take place in November with a prize pot of $1million. It was originally reported that competitors would have to wear full length trousers in order to comply with the strict dress code of the kingdom but it has now been confirmed by the Ladies European Tour chief executive Alexandra Armas that “The recommendation is that the women are modestly dressed with trousers half way up the leg and with polo shirts, they won’t have to cover more of their arms or their heads.”
Armas told the Telegraph that “We haven’t been told we have to do this, this is us advising our players what is appropriate to abide by the local customs. This is uncharted territory for the LET and Golf Saudi has been very generous to players. We want to be respectful of their customs and there will be on-going conversations. We will keep discussing from year to year as the event continues what is acceptable and what expectation is and we manage that expectation with our players.” In response to allegations that Saudi Arabia is using sport to wash over its human rights issues, Armas said “From my perspective, I feel like this tournament is being held for the right reasons. I know there has been a lot of debate around why hold these sporting events and what are the objectives and is it just about trying to change the perceptions? My responsibility is to give playing opportunities to our athletes. We also want to grow the game of women’s golf and influence the participation of the game in new markets. They want to expand golf to all sectors of society regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic background.”