Today (Feb. 16) is the first day of the Aramco Saudi Ladies International! With a world number one prepped to regain her title and a hugely increased purse, the tournament is garnering a lot of attention. Here's what you need to know.
The biggest star of the tournament is the prize money, increased fivefold from last year's US$1m to equal the men's PIF Saudi International purse of US$5m. The winner will take home $750,000 and the runner-up $450,000, with successively smaller prizes down through 66th place.
Current world number one Lydia Ko commented, "It's obviously very exciting news that the women get treated the same as the men. I know this is a great step forward, not only just here, but in the women's game in general."
All eyes are on Ko as the 2021 winner returns to the tournament after missing last year's event. She matched the course record of 265 (-23) to secure a five-shot victory the last time she competed there; in the time since she has won three titles on the LPGA tour, climbed to world number one, and won the Vare trophy and LPGA Player of the Year award for 2022.
Last year's champion Georgia Hall and 2020 winner Emily Kristine Pedersen are also returning. Ireland's own Leona Maguire, currently ranked 11th in the world, is also competing. A total of six of the top ten players in the world will be playing and 13 Major winners.
The tournament is available for streaming on Sky Sports.