'The Aramco Events Almost Have A Semi-Major Feel To Them' - Leona Maguire

World No. 10 Leona Maguire is relishing the prospect of a second outing in the Aramco Team Series in London

Leona Maguire
Leona Maguire
(Image credit: Aramco)

Ireland's Leona Maguire has what could be a huge summer ahead of her. Next week the US Women's Open will be played at Pebble Beach, the following week is the Aramco Team Series in London and the 28-year-old is looking forward to some home support and something different.

The Aramco Series features 36 teams of four players – three pros and an amateur – and they will all play for a $1 million kitty at Centurion near St Albans. Also in the field are Nelly Korda, Georgia Hall and Charley Hull and, for Maguire, it will be her second Aramco outing.

"I've never been to Centurion before but I've heard great things about the course and I know over at the British Open, the crowds are really big. When I played in Buckinghamshire, when I was still an amateur in the LET, the crowds are really big. So there are plenty of Irish people around London, so hopefully, we'll have plenty of people out to support and cheer us on that week."

Maguire, who has now broken into the world's top 10, is hopeful that the Series will help to further boost the women's game and play a big part in getting more girls into trying golf.

"Exposure and visibility are huge. I think it's one thing watching sport on TV but actually getting to go see it live, I think is a completely different thing. So I hope there are a lot of young girls and boys that get to come to the event in London and Centurion and get to watch. 

"I personally went to Irish Opens with my sister and my dad when I was younger. I'm sure there'll be a lot of young kids excited to see Nelly or Charley. It's one thing watching on telly, but actually seeing them in the flesh and seeing them hit a ball and seeing their faces kind of light up when they maybe get an autograph or a ball signed walking up green.

"I think that's memories that linger with young kids right the way through their sort of golfing careers or sporting careers. Aramco have made a huge investment in ladies' golf as well, some of the biggest events in the LET. So I know that the LET is in a really strong place. 

"I played in New York and in the Saudi Ladies Invitational at the start of the year and they almost have a semi-major feel to them where we stay in really nice places. We play at really nice courses. The food's really good. We're treated very well, so I know all the girls really enjoy the events."

Maguire thrived on her Solheim Cup debut in 2021, being the only player from either side to play in all five matches and she ended up an incredible debut with a whopping four and a half points. And the two-scores-from-four format at Centurion is something that she's looking forward to getting her teeth into.

"It's a nice change," she continued. "Obviously, we don't get to play a lot of team golf, so it's nice to have that format and I think it's a little bit more of a relaxed environment maybe. It's always exciting when everybody's picking and who's going to be on whose team and who's going to be the captains and what players are going to draft. And then obviously, what amateurs or celebrities or whatever get assigned to each team.

"So it's a unique format. It's a different format. And I think the way that it's done, the teams are all quite fair as well. The way they structure the picks and the captains that there's no team that's like completely lopsided, really strong. I know there are different strategies though. Some people like to pick their friends. Some people like to pick people that are playing well. There's a little bit of a strategy. It makes things interesting for everybody.

"You're rooting for whoever you're playing with. You're hoping they make as many birdies as possible to help not only themselves but the team. The only downside about moving up the world rankings is my pick is going to be a little later but hopefully there are still some good options left by the time I come to pick."

As for her new lofty position, Maguire is keeping her feet on the ground.

"Everybody that plays sports at an elite level always wants to be the best in the world. It's been quite a steady climb. Obviously, this week breaking into the top 10 in the world, that's been a goal for a long time. So it's a nice milestone to reach, but we're by no means done yet. Rankings are not something that I focus too much on. Ultimately, you're just trying to play as well as you can every week and things like rankings look after themselves."

Mark Townsend
Contributing editor

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on skysports.com. He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.