Written by By Allen Chung, CNN
Anna Nordqvist, a former winner of the Women’s PGA Tour, is in Saudi Arabia to compete in the inaugural Women’s Saudi Arabian Golf Championship next week.
The 37-year-old Swede will tee off at Jeddah’s Royal Greens Golf Club on Thursday, before finishing off in the women’s World Tour Qualifying School at home in her native Sweden.
Read more about Anna’s humanitarian efforts
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She became the first female player from the Swedish LPGA tour to compete in a men’s professional tournament when she won the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic in 2006.
Two years earlier, she received a Bronze Medal, given to the best female golfer on the Swedish LPGA tour.
In April 2011, it was announced that Nordqvist would return to Saudi Arabia to play in the LPGA’s inaugural tournament there, a return that formed part of the contest with Tiger Woods’ WGC-Match Play in the Red Sea resort of Abqaiq.
“Getting to the number one spot on the LPGA was pretty surreal,” Nordqvist told CNN’s Global Academy of Sports
Received a Bronze Medal in 2006. Credit: Larry Templeton/Polaris/UIG via Getty Images
“I thought I was in the top ten because I’d been there for so long and it was the point where I was able to reach number one. It made me nervous. I had no idea what to expect.”
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But it would be the last time Nordqvist plays in the Kingdom.
In 2015, Nordqvist, who is in charge of humanitarian foundation Prive United, became frustrated after being told that she could not wear a dress by the Saudi authorities while she was invited to play.
And in September 2016, Nordqvist became the first prominent female athlete to call for the lifting of the Saudi rule on female athletes.
“Women in the world should be allowed to compete anywhere in the world,” she wrote on Twitter.
“It is about time for change.”
The Saudi Arabia Women’s Golf Championship will be televised around the world, with some BBC 3 HD programs and CNN2 HD to broadcast the final stages of the tournament.