It’s not every day a sporting superstar drops by for dinner.
But for the two Saudi amateur golfers competing in this week’s Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers, that’s exactly what happened!
Saud AlSharif and Faisal Salhab were enjoying dinner in their team hotel with Prince Khalid bin Saud Al-Faisal of event organisers Golf Saudi last night ahead of teeing-off on Day One of the $3.5million event today when they were joined by the current best golfer on the planet, Dustin Johnson, albeit socially distanced.
The world #1 and 2020 Masters champion – who also claimed victory in the first ever Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers back in 2019 – took time out of his own pre-tournament schedule to shoot the breeze with the two young golfers over dinner on Wednesday night.
Joining the pair in the restaurant of the players’ hotel – which is being used exclusively by golfers and their teams as part of King Abdullah Economic City’s COVID-safe ‘inner bubble’ for the duration of the tournament – the double Major winner helped ease the two youngsters’ nerves with chilled chat while they ate quesadillas.
‘DJ’ explained: “I just stopped by and said hello with my brother and my trainer. I’ve become pretty good friends with HRH Prince Khalid and he was with the Saudi boys, so we sat down next to them.
“We weren’t really talking too much about golf but I just told them to keep working at it and keep trying to get better. Being a good golfer in Saudi: they are in a pretty good position! They can take advantage of that if they work at it.”
To Faisal and Saud, it was a dinner memory that will last a very long time.
AlSharif said: “Prince Khalid, Faisal and I were having dinner when DJ came and sat on the next table, because Prince Khalid knows Justin and Austin.
“Dustin is a really nice guy, a fun guy to talk to and we had fun. We didn’t really ask for too much advice – it was a very casual dinner. But it was so good to be in his company. He’s a very humble guy and helped us relax coming into the tournament.”
Twenty-four-year-old Faisal Salhab said: “Dinner with Dustin was an amazing experience that I will remember for the rest of my golfing career. He was extremely friendly and down to earth. Thanks to the wonderful opportunities that are brought to us in Saudi we can call one of the best golfers in the world our friend!”
The $3.5million Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers got underway on Thursday morning, with more than 130 of the world’s best players competing at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).
It is being broadcast live on KSA Sports through the weekend until its conclusion on Sunday.