Why Saudi Arabia is trying to take over the world of golf

Golf came to Saudi Arabia in the 1930s. American expats, working in the nascent oil industry, brought their clubs with them and made courses in the dunes. They worked out that if you sprayed oil onto a patch of sand and then packed it down, you could make a vaguely puttable surface. ‘Occasionally, a herd of camels ambles over our greens,’ one engineer wrote for Aramco Weekly. ‘The terms “fairway” and “rough” employ a distinction that is theoretical only.’ Today, Saudi Arabia wants to take over the sport. The kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is trying to poach the