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November 10, 2022

Waleed Muaath

Georgia Hall

Alex Armas

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Royal Greens Golf and Country Club

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: To start off, Alex, just give an insight into the announcement of what this impact means for you at the Ladies European Tour.

ALEX ARMAS: Well, obviously it's of huge significance for several reasons. First, just the fact the Saudi International, for the women to have a prize fund equivalent to the men is a bold statement and a very important statement that need to be made.

But also from a practical perspective, it has an enormous impact on very talented athletes that have a chance to compete for very significant money.

Ultimately this is their career and prize funds at this level will definitely go a long way to making it a realistic career option.

THE MODERATOR: And Georgia, since the announcement yesterday, what he the talk been like in the locker room between the players? What does it mean for you personally and what have you heard from the others?

GEORGIA HALL: It's incredible. I heard all positive things from the other players. I think they are all excited to play in the event in February next year, me included. I love coming here and playing in golf course and it's such a great statement. I think it will encourage other companies, hopefully, to also raise the bar for future events going forward.

THE MODERATOR: Do you think we'll see the field continue to get stronger and stronger next year?

GEORGIA HALL: Yes, definitely. Definitely more LPGA players as well. I'm sure it will be a lot of their first times to Saudi. But luckily I've been here a few times now.

But yeah, definitely, I look forward to defending, especially if there is equal prize money amount.

THE MODERATOR: Waleed, Golf in Saudi continues to push the boundaries on what's the next step for them. So why do Golf Saudi like to make these big statements, and what does it mean for golf here in the Kingdom and globally?

WALEED MUAATH: So I think talking about the sport and the government, it's an exciting time for us in Golf Saudi, for the golf division by having this involvement in the sport with the government, and making sure we deliver the right statement for our ladies, by seeing this kind of championship come to Saudi and hopefully can be in the industry a leader in golf. It's a really exciting time for us and we are happy to do so. LET do a fantastic job, and we just keep going.

Q. Alex, how does this influence LET and what are you looking forward to next year the most and how do you see the impact?

ALEX ARMAS: As I say, already having an having a relationship with golf Saudi and the Aramco events has elevated the standard of the event. It's the quality and benchmark that we would expect for our athletes, and now seeing this reflected in this level of prize fund, it's just going to keep driving the growth of the Tour and women's golf.

Q. For all three of you, do we think we'll have these four major events all at Royal Greens, or will you be looking to spread the tournaments around other places in Saudi or are you looking to really build a portfolio at Royal greens?

ALEX ARMAS: From my perspective and I guess from Georgia's too, you'd like to stay here for a while.

Obviously this is a great venue. The infrastructure is fantastic. But we also want to try and at some stage, I know there's a lot of development of great venues in the future. At some stage we would like to also move the event around and make it to more people so that they can experience the tournament.

WALEED MUAATH: Also hopefully there will be some new development to be done but we have to take some time -- and have the Aramco in other cities.

Q. Georgia, from the perspective of women golfers, what do you think about this increase? Will this benefit you?

GEORGIA HALL: Yeah, 100 percent. I think it's definitely what women's sport needed and especially in golf, like I said, it shows a strong statement and really thankful to Majed and His Excellency and Golf Saudi for supporting the event. It's gone from strength-to-strength every year that I've been a part of it. As I said, the players are really grateful for them and look forward to playing in February, and hopefully slowly tournaments like this will equal prize funds.

Q. Alex, how would you describe arrangements here at Saudi compared to other tournaments hosted often the LET in general, the organisers?

ALEX ARMAS: Obviously the infrastructure is strung and the logistics are spectacular. It's probably would you know of the highest qualified billed and delivery of events that we have year round, and I think from a player's perspective, everyone is really hospitable. The catering for the players, the facilities, yes, it's top-notch, so it's definitely as I said, sets a benchmark for other tournaments.

Q. For the U.K. fans, can you talk about the success of participating in the Flagship Event in the Centurion Club earlier this year?

GEORGIA HALL: Yes, coming from the U.K., I don't get to play much there anymore. So for me, it's a fantastic event to play in. I have friends and family watching and get to see a lot of the fans in the U.K.

So I know other British players really loved playing that event and it's a fantastic golf course, set up great. The Aramco, every event, it sets up like a major from the transport, accommodation.

Everything about it is phenomenal, and that's why I've played in every one in London, and I think it's really important to have events, especially in the U.K.

We have some really strong players at the moment, especially, performing very well, so I think it's great for also the younger generation to come watch us play in person, and not just on the TV.

Q. Do you have any plans to expand the Aramco Series into Latin America, Spain, any countries like this?

ALEX ARMAS: Obviously we are very excited with the tournaments we have and we are focusing on keeping growing those, keep improving wherever possible. But we are open to any opportunity, and obviously Latin America is an incredible golfing with a lot of talent, but they don't have many tournaments. I think at some stage, doing something in Latin America would be very exciting.

Q. If you could talk about the wider story of how Aramco came in two years ago and put these events on and really helped develop the Ladies European Tour, what's that meant for you?

ALEX ARMAS: It's been an incredible partnership. This is the 13th event we've done together with Golf Saudi in a three-year span. It all started with just the Aramco Saudi Ladies International that was due to take place in 2020 and COVID hit and the schedule got reduced significantly, and we were looking at other opportunities to give players the chance to compete. Because if they are not competing, they are not working.

We reached out to Golf Saudi to see if we could have a second event back-to-back, back in 2020, and they completely took that on and that's where it all started. And from those conversations, and that second event, it's kind of evolved year-on-year, and as I say, it's a very collaborative relationship.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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