R&A to fall into the networks of Saudi Arabia

The Royal & Ancient has reportedly been holding talks with the Saudi Arabian government to promote golf projects in the nation

by Andrea Gussoni
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 R&A to fall into the networks of Saudi Arabia
© Getty Images Sport - Quinn Harris / Stringer

The Royal & Ancient has reportedly been holding talks with the Saudi Arabian government to promote golf projects in the nation. According to The Guardian, an unnamed spokesperson has confirmed these negotiations, stating that "Golf Saudi is a national association affiliated with the R&A, and discussions are ongoing regarding our support for potential development projects."

The Royal & Ancient, news

As an organization responsible for the organization of the British Open and maintaining adherence to golf rules and regulations, the Royal & Ancient holds significant influence in the sport - alongside the USGA, it is one of the most important bodies in the golf world.

The proposed partnership between the Saudi association and the R&A would serve to legitimize the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the sovereign investment fund responsible for the LIV Golf initiative.

Despite opposition amongst a portion of the public, the funding that petrodollars provide ensures the opening of such doors.

It appears that the R&A's endeavours are two-fold, seeking not only funding for its grassroots projects, but also to bolster prize purses for its tournaments, particularly the men's and women's British Opens.

The world of sports has undergone a revolutionary shift in the last twelve months, and it is not feasible for R&A or golf to turn a blind eye to this global social change.

"We will consider all options within the parameters we examine," said Martin Slumbers, CEO of R&A, who has already opened the door to a potential Saudi investment in the institution headquartered at Saint Andrews' Old Course in Scotland.

Some go further to suggest that Slumbers played with Yassir Al Rumayyan, the head of PIF, at the past Alfred Dunhill Links Championship hosted at three Scottish sites - Carnoustie, Kingsbarns, and Saint Andrews - a development that has spurred rumors about potential discussions and negotiations for the future.

LIV Golf is a professional golf tour. It was founded in 2022 with the support of the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund. The golf tour competes with the PGA Tour (USA) and the DP World Tour (Europe) and offers significantly higher prize money.

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