First Arab woman on the European Tour sees Saudi event as step forward

EDITORS PLEASE NOT: PART QUALITY AS INCOMING

SHOWS:

KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, SAUDI ARABIA (NOVEMBER 10, 2020) (SAUDI LADIES INTERNATIONAL HANDOUT - ACCESS ALL)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MOROCCAN GOLFER, MAHA HADDIOUI, SAYING:

"I'm just very happy - I mean, this is a new page on the LET (Ladies European Tour) 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 in my region and that Saudi is making this step forward. It's a big tournament. It's a big statement. As we know, women's golf is sometimes not getting the recognition it should. You can just see it in terms of prize money. Having Saudi put up such a big prize fund in two tournaments in a row, is a huge statement to make that - you know, to close that gap between men and women's golf."

KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, SAUDI ARABIA (RECENT) (SAUDI LADIES INTERNATIONAL VNR - ACCESS ALL)

2. (MUTE) VARIOUS OF WOMEN GOLFERS PLAYING ON THE ROYAL GREENS GOLF COURSE THAT WILL HOST THE EVENT

3. GOLFERS AT THE RANGE

4. (MUTE) VARIOUS OF GOLFERS ON COURSE, INCLUDING SLOW MOTION SHOTS

5. VARIOUS MORE OF GOLFERS HITTING BALLS

KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, SAUDI ARABIA (NOVEMBER 10, 2020) (SAUDI LADIES INTERNATIONAL HANDOUT - ACCESS ALL)

6. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MOROCCAN GOLFER, MAHA HADDIOUI, SAYING:

"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 usually, by looking at what's improving, this is where you keep improving. It's always about looking at the glass half empty or half full. And to me, it's definitely half full because Saudi is making huge improvements. It's opening to the world with women. Thursday I'm having a clinic with a lot of women. I have the chance to come here and play golf with a lot of women. A lot of women are going to be able to take up the game of golf for pretty much free and just being able to be a part of that, to me is a big achievement."

KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, SAUDI ARABIA (RECENT) (SAUDI LADIES INTERNATIONAL VNR - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE)

7. SAUDI FLAG FLYING AT THE GOLF COURSE

8. VARIOUS OF THE GROUNDS AT THE ROYAL GREENS GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB

KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, SAUDI ARABIA (NOVEMBER 10, 2020) (SAUDI LADIES INTERNATIONAL HANDOUT - ACCESS ALL)

9. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MOROCCAN GOLFER, MAHA HADDIOUI, SAYING:

"Yeah, well, you don't really imagine what you can't have until you don't really have it. I'm very grateful for those opportunities and obviously my life would have been a lot different if I didn't have those opportunities. And I know it can be very difficult when you know you can do something, but you're not allowed to do it. But this is where you've seen improvements. And if things are moving forward and opening up, I think that's what really matters."

STORY: Maha Haddioui, the first and only Arab woman on the Ladies European Tour (LET) on Tuesday (November 10) said the focus should be on positive changes in Saudi Arabia as the Middle Eastern country prepares to host it's first LET event at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club this week.

The Moroccan also said she is excited to "represent my region in my region" as she competes in a field of 108 LET professionals for one of the tour's biggest prizes, $1 million U.S. dollars.

When asked during a zoom news conference on Tuesday if it was time for the world to focus on improvements Saudi Arabia has a made instead of "continually bringing up a lot of the human rights and other things," Haddioui said, yes.

"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 usually, by looking at what's improving, this is where you keep improving," she said.

At the same time, Haddioui also said she was grateful for the opportunities she has had access to, including studying in the United States, that led to her being a professional golfer.

"You don't really imagine what you can't have until you don't really have it. I'm very grateful for those opportunities and obviously my life would have been a lot different if I didn't have those opportunities," she said.

The 72-hole stroke play tournament will be played at the Royal Greens in King Abdullah Economic City from November 12-15th and will feature some of the biggest names in the women's field including Charley Hull, Georgia Hall, Anna Nordqvist, Anne Van Dam, Amy Boulden, Camilla Lennarth and Dame Laura Davies.

Subsequently, the Saudi Ladies Team International will be held from the 17-19th of November.