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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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LPGA’s Rose Zhang Mulls Potential Saudi Investment in Women’s Golf

  • In April, LIV Golf Commissioner Greg Norman said the Saudi league discussed forming a women’s series.
  • LPGA Tour star Rose Zhang told FOS that Saudi Arabia's potential investment “definitely could” help grow women’s golf.
LPGA Tour star Rose Zhang told FOS that potential Saudi investment “definitely could” help grow women’s golf.
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The LPGA Tour was left out of the agreed-upon merger between the PGA Tour, Saudi Arabia’s LIV Golf, and the European Tour, but the newest phenom in women’s golf is open to potential investment from Saudi Arabia amid the Kingdom’s rampant sports spending spree. 

“I think it definitely could,” LPGA Tour star Rose Zhang told Front Office Sports after being asked if investment from Saudi Arabia could help grow women’s golf and the LPGA Tour

In late June, three weeks after the PGA Tour announced its merger agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, a spokeswoman for LIV Golf confirmed to FOS that it was exploring possible signings of LPGA stars and holding “mixed” tournaments. LIV Commissioner Greg Norman said in April that the Saudi league has discussed creating its own women’s golf series. 

“You obviously get everything from the media, and you see how both tours are progressing in the merger, but in terms of women’s golf, there’s a lot that can happen, and I’m more of an observer,” Zhang said. “There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes talk that is occurring these days. And the merger was quite a bit of a shock to a lot of players and a lot of people. So there’s always conversations, I’m sure, that are ongoing, and you really can’t make any assumptions.” 

Zhang, 20, won her LPGA Tour debut in June’s Mizuho Americas Open after a dominant college career at Stanford. Saudi Arabia has hosted the Aramco Saudi Ladies International tournament on the Ladies European Tour since 2020 and raised prize money for this year’s event to $5 million, equaling the men’s purse for the Asian Tour’s PIF Saudi International.

Zhang had many NIL deals at Stanford and has signed endorsements at the pro level with Callaway, Adidas, Beats By Dre, Delta, and sunglasses brand Uswing. She finished tied for ninth to win $272,355 at the U.S. Women’s Open in July, which was NBC’s most-watched U.S. Women’s Open since 2014 and had a record $11 million purse.

“I think women’s golf is really progressing well with all the purses that it’s been receiving, there’s a lot more attention on the women’s game,” Zhang said. “It’s just been incredible to see television rights with more exposure and more brands putting emphasis on women’s golf and women’s sports in general.”

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