We chat to Ladies European Tour CEO Alexandra Armas on the unique Aramco Team Series event
LET CEO Reveals How Aramco Team Series Idea Came About
Covid-19 has seen unprecedented, and difficult, times and many in the golf world may have been fearing for the Ladies European Tour due to the travel and financial implications of the pandemic.
However, 12-18 months on and the Tour is thriving, with record purses up for grabs this year in what is a packed schedule.
One of the many bright sparks from the 2021 season is the new Aramco Team Series, which makes its debut this week at the Centurion Club.
The event is only here because of Covid, as LET CEO Alex Armas explained to Golf Monthly, thanks to the Saudi Ladies Team International that was thought up last year.
The innovative bonus tournament went so well that it paved the way for the ATS, which takes in London, Sotogrande, New York and Jeddah this year with very healthy $1m purses.
The ATS format sees three professionals team up with an amateur in teams of four, with the best two net scores counting.
This week’s London event features a packed field including Lexi Thompson, Georgia Hall, Minjee Lee, Charley Hull and Anna Nordqvist as well as many other star names.
“Hugely exciting obviously,” Alex Armas, who only took over as LET CEO at the start of 2020, told Golf Monthly.
“It is unique the event also, the players are excited and I think it’s just a concept that came out of last year and Covid times that has evolved into this amazing tournament and series of events.
“It’s exciting that an idea when it comes through and you eventually see actually the event happening so very much looking forward to it.
“It all came about last year when we were struggling for tournaments with Covid.
“We had to cancel so many tournaments and our players spent a lot of months without being able to compete and one of the easiest options for us with all the restrictions that were in place was to try and find another tournament that we could play within a region that we were already playing.
“And off the back of that we presented the idea to Golf Saudi to say ‘Why don’t we do a mid-week televised event following the Aramco Saudi Ladies Invitational?’
“And they liked the idea and from then we said ‘We’re doing another event, let’s do something a little different’ and then the concept of the team happened.
“The intention was to only have it that one time as a Covid solution to help the players out and we were hugely grateful so as were the players but it was such a success that we kind of couldn’t let go.
“So we were like ‘Okay, let’s do something with this. This is too good to just have it for one year so let’s keep going with it’ and here we are with this concept.
“The events as I say had a tremendous feedback from last year so obviously a lot of these players will have played in Saudi at the end of the year, you know one thing players are really good at is sharing their experiences at events and they would have shared their experience for this tournament.
“I think now it’s just gone to the next level and we just keep growing.”