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Worldwide Golf Executive Editor Since 1999

COULDN’T have been more pleased at the news that golf’s governing bodies, the R&A and the USGA, have finally decided to ban anchoring of the long-handled putter. But why they have decided to wait until 2016 for the ban to come into force is beyond me. Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of the R&A explains their ruling by saying that those players whose careers have become dependent on ‘the anchored putting stroke’ now have three years to find another putting method. Some players who use the long-handled putter argue that using the long stick doesn’t automatically mean that they will putt better but if that’s the case why are they using it? I’ve made the point many times that by using a putter where you anchor the club into your midriff, your chest or your chin, or anywhere on your body, you effectively take away the wrist action altogether from your putting stroke. That’s not what the game is all about. If a player is struggling with his putting stroke by using a conventional putter, it’s something he has to come to terms with. It’s an integral part of the game. It happens to many players during their career. But by using a long-handled putter it gives them an unfair advantage. In defence of the long-handled putter certain players have made the comparison between enlarged drivers and old-styled drivers. Their point is that the advance in technology in the size and weight of drivers can give them added distance off the tee. Well, that’s perfectly true. But the action of driving the ball hasn’t changed as a result of the introduction of bigger drivers. I understand the rule change has yet to be confirmed but I can’t see why the long-handled putter shouldn’t be banned once it has been confirmed. It doesn’t really matter whether players have to get used to the change tomorrow or in three years time – they should ban it right now. I’D LIKE to congratulate Tom Watson on being awarded the captaincy of the 2014 United States Ryder Cup Team at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland. I think it would be a wise choice. Tom is one of the most liked and respected players in the game and he has a loyal following of fans around the world that


The 9-time Major Champion and 9-time Seniorr Major Champion who has witnessed and beenn a part of some of the most historic and memorable able golfing occasions reflects on the game today has built up over decades. He’s still playing ying good golf at the age of 63 and he’s still a tough, determined competitor. Nobody deserves the honour our of being Ryder Cup Captain more than Tom. He played in many Ryder Cup Teams and Captained d the USA Team to a 15-13 victory over Europe at The Belfry elfry in 1993. There is considerable debate in Europe pe as to who will be the Captain of the European Team am in the 2014 Ryder Cup. Many people have been voicing oicing their opinions in arguing that Irishmen Darren en Clark or Paul McGinley should be Captain. I’d like ke to see Paul Lawrie get the job, although I’m sure that hat whoever is chosen will do a first class job. Paul is playing laying the best golf of his life right now and he could make it into the Team as an automatic qualifier er next year if he continues to perform as well as he has over the last two years. But all the same it would be great to see a Scot to Captain the Team in Scotland. and. Being an Aberdonian, Gleneagles is not far from om his home and the enthusiastic, knowledgeable and nd patriotic Scottish crowds would love nothing more than to cheer Paul and his Team to victory. Both Sam Torrance and Colin Montgomerie havee enjoyed success in the role before and they’d also so make great candidates to take the reigns again ain in their homeland. Q




appy New Year everyone, let’s hope 2013 is filled with pars, birdies and eagles for us all. We’re gearing up for what should be a humdinger of a Middle East Swing and with the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy coming to town, the prospect of the top class golf we’re going to be treated to should be the only thing up for discussion in the clubhouses around the region. But, sadly, the subject of appearance money has raised its increasingly ugly head again and it’s something that needs to be addressed or there’s a very real danger of killing the golden goose – and the top Tours as we know them. The prizemoney for the three-event Middle East Swing amounts to a sizeable US$7.7 million and yet the amount of appearance money handed out in order to get the game’s top stars to turn up could be double that. We’re talking about mind-boggling amounts of money, on top of the huge cash prizes that sponsors have to cough up these days just to put a world-class tournament together. There will come a time – and in some cases it’s already started to happen – when the big sponsors start to ask themselves, “Are we getting good value for our money from golf anymore?” Other sports, such as tennis, are increasingly being regarded as better value for money. Sure, the top stars still get appearance money but the sums dished out across the board are nowhere near those in golf. There was the situation last year when Rory McIlroy, who was at the crucial stage of chasing down his Race to Dubai victory, and Tiger Woods, chose to play in an exhibition match in China for a combined US$3 million in appearance money, rather than compete in one of the most prestigious events in golf outside the Majors – the WGC-HSBC Champions. And that’s another problem this situation could create. If sponsors are set on staying in golf and they want the top players to play, they could bypass the Tours and create their own event without the need to pay out any prize money at all. The Turkish Airlines Golf Final, which was won by Justin Rose, featured an eight-man field, yet they dished out US$10.4 million to get the game’s stop stars to play. OK, it was allocated as ‘prize money’ but you got US$350,000 just for turning up and finishing last! If The European Tour put their foot down and demand an end to appearance money we could end up with a ‘Harlem Globe Trotters-esque’ exhibition tour where the biggest players spend their time playing in meaningless events for huge sums of money. The only solution is for the players, sponsors and Tours to work together to help save the game by agreeing that a good chunk of the money currently offered as appearance money is ploughed back into the prize fund kitty. US$7.7 million is a great amount of prize money for the three Middle East Swing events, but imagine if that amount was US$15 or US$20 million – then the top players would surely play anyway? It’s a tricky situation and there are no easy answers. The US PGA Tour has a ban on appearance money and yet there’s a grey area over there about what constitutes ‘appearance money’ and the top sponsors still find ways of enticing the big name players to play. If Graeme McDowell, Camilo Villegas and Keegan Bradley are paid by Zurich to play in an exhibition match before the Tour event in New Orleans and then play the tournament – is that not appearance money? At the other end of the scale there are smaller tournaments which simply can’t afford to offer these huge sums and therefore can’t get the top players to play – and the events drop off the schedule. The problem won’t go away any time soon but it’s something that needs serious discussion at the highest level before it’s too late.

Alex Gallemore Editor


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ISSUE No. 144, JANUARY, 2013 Published by: Worldwide Sporting Publications Ltd +44 1663 719926 Published in Dubai by: Prografix, PO Box 24677, Dubai, UAE (Tel) +9714 340 3785

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Branden Grace and caddie Zack Rasego proved to be a winning partnership five times last year – can they continue their successful teamwork in 2013?


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GLENEAGLES OFF THE TOUR SCHEDULE IN 2014 THE Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles will not feature on the 2014 European Tour season due to the venue’s staging of The Ryder Cup later that year, but it will return the following year. Preparations for the biennial Ryder Cup matches are set to be in full swing during the Johnnie Walker Championship’s scheduled date and all concerned have agreed to suspend the event for the year. “With regret we have accepted that we have no option but to postpone the Championship for a year,” said Tournament Director Graeme Marchbank. Paul Lawrie (pictured below with the trophy) won the 2012 Johnnie Walker Championship by six shots to record his eighth European Tour victory. Left to right: Former European Tour Executive Director Ken Schofield, current European Tour Chief Executive George O’Grady and Tour legend Colin Montgomerie.

Montgomerie and Schofield to enter Hall of Fame FORMER European Tour Executive Director Ken Schofield and 2010 Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie will be among the inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame later this year. Montgomerie, elected through the International Ballot and Schofield, selected through the Lifetime Achievement Category, will be honoured, along with fellow 2013 inductees Fred Couples, Willie Park Jnr and Ken Venturi at the World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on May 6, 2013, at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida. “There’s no higher honour that can be bestowed on a player,” said Montgomerie. “I know I am very fortunate to have enjoyed such a successful career playing the game I love and it makes me feel very proud that my achievements have been recognised in this way.” Schofield is honoured for his role in growing The European Tour into one of the most well-respected professional sporting organisations in the world. When he took the helm in 1975, The European Tour comprised 17 official events with an official prize fund of €599,084 and when he retired at the end of 2004 there were 45 official events with a total of official prize money of €106,010,654

GARCIA GOES LOW FOR MALAYSIA WIN SERGIO Garcia shot an 11-under-par 61 to win the Johor Open in Malaysia by three strokes from American Jonathan Moore. Rain caused the event to be shortened to 54 holes before the Spaniard birdied seven holes on the front nine then came back after a lengthy rain delay with four birdies on the back nine to close out his second win of 2012. “It has been a great experience as this is my first time in Malaysia and to be able to win is a treat,” said Garcia, who also won the Wyndham Championship on the US PGA Tour last August. “The most important thing about playing under these kinds of conditions is to keep the momentum going, especially with so much disruption. “


TOM WATSON TO LEAD US RYDER CUP TEAM EIGHT-time Major winner Tom Watson will lead the US Ryder Cup Team at Gleneagles in 2014 with the 63-year-old set to become the oldest Captain in the competition’s history. Watson is the last man to Captain a United States Team to victory on European soil when he led the Americans to a 15-13 victory against Bernard Gallacher’s European Team at The Belfry in 1993. David Toms and Larry Nelson were both tipped to follow in Davis Love III’s footsteps as Captain but the PGA of America have

chosen Watson as their man. At 65 years of age when play begins in Scotland, Watson will overtake John Henry Taylor, who was 62 when he performed the role for Great Britain in 1933. Watson, who is the first repeat captain for the US team since Jack Nicklaus in 1987, was one of the leading lights in the game from the mid-1970s during which he won four out of his five Open Championships on Scottish Links. He is greatly respect around the world – and particularly in Scotland.

DIVOTS Students from the Special Needs Future Development Centre in Dubai visit the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

DP World Tour Championship donates $50,000 for SNF Development Centre DONATIONS at last month’s DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, generated US$50,000 for the Special Needs Future Development Centre, a Dubai-based centre for young adults with special needs, which has been supported by the Tour Players Foundation since 2009. The SNF Development Centre visited The European Tour’s end of season grand finale of 2012 at Jumeirah Golf Estates where, escorted by representatives of The European Tour Wives Association and Members of the

Tour Players Foundation Trustees Board, where some of the students and carers saw at first hand the donations being made. Emma Stenson, TPF Trustee and member of the European Tour Wives Association, said: “We are delighted to be able to help the SNF Development Centre here in Dubai once again. To have been able to play a part in the expansion and development of such a great organisation has been hugely rewarding for the Tour Players


VOLVO FUN ACE PRIZES TIMES THREE VOLVO enjoys an enviable reputation for its quality vehicles, for its innovation, and for its strong relationship with golf all over the world. Now, Volvo is combining all three of these admirable attributes in its approach to the Hole-in-One prizes during the Volvo Golf Champions at the Durban Country Club on January 10-13. Many tournaments have a prize on offer at one of the Par 3s but not many offer three such opportunities during a round, as will be the case in South Africa, meaning the elite field will get not four but 12 chances to win a Volvo product during the week. The list of entrants features Ryder Cup stars Peter Hanson, Nicolas Colsaerts and Paul Lawrie, along with their captain José María Olazábal, as well as local heroes Retief Goosen, Louis Oosthuizen, Ernie Els and defending champion Branden Grace. Such talent on display means that a hole-in-one, or more, is a very real possibility. Volvo have introduced a fun element into their ace prizes, quite different from any other tournament. Oosthuizen has his eye on one of the three items on offer for a Holein-One. “I’ve had my eye on the excavator since the Volvo event at Fancourt last year,” he said. “It’s a great incentive as a Hole-in-One prize.” In addition to the “Compact Excavator” pictured above, there is a Volvo V40 car and a Volvo FH truck. Says Per Ericsson, President of Volvo Event Management: “This year we have something new and very special on offer, the likes of which have never been seen on Tour before. We think they add a real element of fun and will really capture the imagination of the players, the spectators and the millions watching on TV around the world.”

GEOFF HUNTER joins Prosports International as General Manager this month. Geoff, the former General Manager at Jumeirah Golf Estates, first came to Dubai from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1993, and worked for Spinneys supermarkets, opening four new outlets in the UAE. In 2000 he joined RSH as General Manager Retail and later became General Manager of ProGolf. With the formation of Leisurecorp at Jumeirah Golf Estates he was appointed Operations Director with responsibility for their acquisitions of the Pearl Valley Resort in Capetown, South Africa and the iconic Turnberry Golf Club in Ayrshire, Scotland. When Nakheel took charge of Jumeirah Golf Estates in 2009 Geoff became General Manager, running the Fire and Earth courses and the DP World Tour Championship since the inaugural event in 2009. “After 19 years in Dubai I’ve had a number of challenges but I’m really excited at joining Prosports. I know the team well and I look forward to being part of the company and helping to grow the already successful business,” says Geoff.

Foundation and the ETWA. We hope the funds donated during the DP World Tour Championship continue to improve the remarkable service they provide.” The support of the Tour Players Foundation to date has contributed to the development and expansion of their centre, tripling the size of the facility in Al Karama, which, in turn, has enabled them to significantly increase the number of students in their care since it was founded in 2007.

SHANSHAN FENG WINS OMEGA DUBAI LADIES MASTERS SHANSHAN Feng won the OMEGA Dubai Ladies Masters after closing with 3-under 69 to win by a comfortable five strokes at the Emirates Golf Club with a 21-under-par total of 267. Dewi Clare Schreefel also closed with 69 to take second place on 16-under while Becky Brewerton and Caroline Masson shared third place on 12-under. “I didn’t look at the leaderboard until 18, so I had no idea how everyone else was doing. But I’m very happy,” said Feng. “I wanted a top-five finish this week and I did even better than that. I played solid all week and my putting was the key.”


Branden Grace EXCLUSIVE

GRACE EXPECTATIONS 2012 European Tour sensation BRANDEN GRACE talks to Mike Gallemore about his ‘dream year’ during which PM_WVÅ^MQV\MZVI\QWVIT titles – the Joburg Open, \PM>WT^W/WTN+PIUXQWV[ \PM>WT^W+PQVI7XMVIVL \PM)TNZML,]VPQTT4QVS[ Championship at St Andrews on The European Tour and \PM>WLIKWU7ZQOQV[WN/WTN Final on the Sunshine Tour. He started the year in 271st XTIKMQV\PM7NÅKQIT?WZTL/WTN Ranking and ended it in 36th. In his 2012 campaign on The :IKM\W,]JIQPMÅVQ[PML 6th. His total prize money on The European Tour last year amounted to €2,502,501.



“I’m a very close mate with Louis Oosthuizen. During my early years as a professional he definitely showed me the ropes and was always giving me advice that might help me.”


HIS has been an amazing 12 months for me. It’s been a dream year – it was a dream to win at The Links at Fancourt and to win a tournament of the calibre of the Volvo Golf Champions was something special, particularly coming out on top in a three way play-off with my two boyhood heroes, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen. After a tough season in 2011 I just wanted to take it step by step. First I had to earn my European Tour playing card. I tried to get it through the Challenge Tour and came close. I played 21 tournaments on the Challenge Tour in 2011 and had five top-10 finishes but ended up at Qualifying School and thankfully managed to earn my European Tour card. It doesn’t matter where you finish at Q-School, whether you finish first or 30th, a card is a card. I was the 11th card but you just want to get through in any position. The 12


“When you achieve something in sport, other sports stars see it from the same eye. I’ve met a couple of footballers in Jonny Evans (Manchester United) and John O’Shea (Sunderland). “I play golf with them on a regular basis when I’m in Britain and that’s pretty cool. I’m also very good mates with South African rugby player Fourie du Preez.”

“I always believed I would win sooner or later on the Tour and that it was just a matter of time before I achieved it.”

rest is what you make of it. All I really wanted was to get back on the big stage. When that happened I sat down with my caddie Zack Rasego and he said that I was striking the ball well and putting so well that I really could win one of the next two tournaments. I felt good about my game and I liked the first two events – the Joburg Open and the Volvo Golf Champions – because both courses suited me. I like playing in windy conditions and I love links courses. I won in Joburg which saw me qualify for the Volvo event and everything just went my way from there on in. I was so pleased for Zack when he won the HSBC Caddie of the Year Award during the WGC-HSBC Champions Bagman’s Party at Mission Hills, China. It was well deserved and a great honour for Zack. My first win, in Joburg, when I beat Jamie Elson by a stroke, was the key for what was to come as it got me into the Volvo the

following week. It gave me that little bit of fire and a positive vibe knowing that I could do it. I always believed I would win sooner or later on the Tour and that it was just a matter of time before I achieved it. It was a bit like my amateur days when I hadn’t won for a long time and then I won four times in a year. I just needed to get that little bit of a push in the right direction and it gave me the motivation to go with it. The rest, as they say, is history. I seemed to peak just at the right time. When I beat Retief and Ernie in the play-off it was an amazing achievement to beat my two boyhood heroes in such a big event. It was unbelievable just standing on the tee at the first extra hole with Ernie and Retief, two of my idols. It was one of the most awesome feelings to know I had beaten my heroes. I came through the Ernie Els Fancourt Foundation so it was even more

BG FACTFILE Born: May 20, 1988 D.O.B: Pretoria, South )NZQKI Turned Pro: 2007 Hobbies: Reading, hunting, _I\KPQVOUW^QM[

of a thrill to come out on top. I think if I was in Ernie’s shoes – having played early in the day, had a good round, then had an hour and a half off and returned for a playoff – then I would have been a nervous wreck. But I think the way it happened was good for me because I kept hitting good shot after good shot coming in, so I was performing under the pressure. Then it was literally off the green, sign the scorecard and straight out again for the play-off. So it really didn’t feel like anything had happened. It felt like there was one more hole left and I think that’s what helped. They congratulated me but nobody likes losing in a play-off. We all wanted to win. I now know them personally and they are two great guys. When I won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews last October Ernie said to me: “You’re good enough to win The Open.” That meant a lot to me.



“Things can change very quickly in this game, as 2011 proved, but I know this season will be another big experience for me. You don’t really know what to expect but I’m looking forward to what’s to come.”

Schalk Brits, Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen and Odendaal Koen pose for a picture during the practice round of The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at The Old Course, St.Andrews.

To follow winning the Volvo Golf Champions with the Volvo China Open just a few months later was incredible. Both courses really suited my game. Of course I had the benefit of local knowledge at Fancourt as you really need to know your way around that golf course while Binhai Lake in China gave me that same sort of ‘linksy’ feeling. To win in China and make it three European Tour wins before May was unbelievable. When I won again at St Andrews for my fourth Tour victory in 2012 I had become the first South African to win the title and the youngest winner – that’s a massive honour for such a tournament. (As a four-time winner in a single season Grace also joined Tour legends such as Els, Seve, Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood in achieving the feat). South African golf is in great shape right now. We’ve got five players in the top 50 14

and George Coetzee is bound to win on Tour sooner or later. George and I have been mates since our junior days and it’s nice to be going through the ranks together. Maybe we’ll become the new Charl and Louis and win some Majors. With Jbe Kruger and Darren Fichardt both winning on The European Tour last year and players such as Hennie Otto, a two-time winner on The European Tour, this is fast becoming a golden era for the Springboks. I’m looking forward to this season. If I can pick up where I left off last year I might make it into the world top 10 – who knows. I’ve certainly put my foot on the World Ranking and I’ve made something of an impression for myself. Things can change very quickly in this game, as 2011 proved, but I know this season will be another big experience for me. You don’t really know what to expect but I’m looking forward to what’s to come.

IN THE BAG: Driver: Callaway RAZR Hawk Tour â Fairway Wood: +ITTI_Ia:)B:.Q\â Hybrids: Callaway Diablo Edge Tour  â Irons: Callaway X-Forged Irons (2009) 3-9 Wedges: +ITTI_Ia@.WZOML?MLOM[ (52º-12º, 60º-9º) Putter: Callaway Black Series Tour ,M[QOV[ ?QLM Ball: Callaway HEX Black Tour Prototype

It was a big step forward in getting my Tour card and winning four times on Tour, playing with Tiger Woods and handling the crowds was another big step and with just playing with the world’s best is a learning curve in itself. I’m looking forward to getting on the bigger stages and competing with the top players some more. Louis and Charl are the type of players who’ll help you where they can. So I’m looking forward to the future and getting into the Majors regularly, playing practice rounds with them and seeing how they do it. I went to the first WGC event of the year last year and we had the practice rounds and things, and we had a laugh. It’s nice to see the way they do it and how they handle it. All that experience means I know how to handle myself and I’ll just stick to my own game and take it from there. Q

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Caddies Who Carry the Can

Zack Rasego Caddies, or Bagmen, as they are better known, are an interesting breed. It’s their job to help and advise the player and walk a tightrope of when to stay anonymously in the background and when to join the player centre stage to help select the right club or recommend the most likely line of a putt. Either way they are often the target of the player’s wrath when things go wrong yet seldom get the praise when they should. It’s a tough job that requires a strong constitution. They are the unsung heroes of golf. Many of them are personalities in their own right. In the first of our series of features on Caddies out on Tour, Mike Gallemore talks to South African caddie ZACK RASEGO about his fascinating career so far.



randen Grace’s caddie, Zack Rasego, carried off the ‘HSBC Caddie of the Year’ award at the annual caddies’ night at the WGC-HSBC Champions last November and it couldn’t have gone to a more deserving bagman. He shared the glory of five victories in Grace’s magnificent 2012 season having previously caddied for Louis Oosthuizen and before that, Gary Player. “I’ve been very fortunate,” says Rasego. “Working with Gary Player was so good for me. I learned a lot from him, especially in the early days when I was at Sun City.” Player had introduced a caddie programme to train prospective caddies when he was designing the Country Club course at Sun City.

You have to remind the player that he still has another shot to play. You’ve got to move your player’s mind from seeing the bad shot to take a positive into the next shot. It’s basically what you have to do as a caddie.

Best Caddie The Black Knight gave Rasego his own ‘Best Caddie’ award which included being Player’s bagman for a while on The European Tour. “He took me to The Open – it was the first time I’d been overseas,” says Rasego. “Caddieing for Mr. Player made me a better person. He does everything according to the book. He lives his life the way life should be lived. “I’ve got great respect for him. He treats people very well and you can only learn from people like him. I appreciate what he’s done for me – he got me on the big stage. I wouldn’t be where I am today were it not for Mr. Player. “I’ve seen the world because he gave me the basics. I had to improve on what he taught me but I never took anything for granted over all those years.” Rasego later caddied for Louis Oosthuizen for seven years and was on the bag when Louis won The Open at St Andrews in 2010. “Caddieing for Louis was a big break for me. Louis loves life and it was a great time working for him.” Having taken over Grace’s bag there was more glory to come. “Branden works very hard,” says Rasego. “He loves his golf and he works so hard to get to the top. Branden likes to see Louis and other great players play golf. You can only learn from the best people and that makes Branden a better player. “As a caddie you have to treat each player according to their needs. You have to behave as a caddie according to what your boss needs. Life is different and people are different and you have to treat them differently. “The main thing about being a caddie is

that you need to be honest with yourself. If you think it’s that particular club for the shot then you should say so. “If you’re wrong, you’ve got to take the blame. You’ve got to admit you got it wrong. Admit your mistakes. That’s what the player wants. It’s a difficult job and it’s frustrating for both of you but you’ve got to be strong. You have to take the bad shot and make a positive out of it. “You have to remind the player that he still has another shot to play. You’ve got to move your player’s mind from seeing the bad shot to take a positive into the next shot. It’s basically what you have to do as a caddie. You have to appreciate the good shots but also appreciate the bad shots. It’s part of the game. You’ve got to stay positive and move on to what happens next. “I used to play golf a little when I started at my local club caddieing for amateurs. Some guys were nice guys but others weren’t. But that helped me a lot. I give my thanks to all

the guys I’ve caddied for because I learned how to contend with the bad guys as well as how to handle myself with the good guys. “Winning the caddies award in China was awesome. I was very lucky. The players and the caddies who voted for me made the day for me. It was a great honour. I do my best and I can only do my best. “I’m a sports fanatic. I just love to watch any sport on television. After golf, football is my number one. South Africa is my favourite team but Real Madrid is my favourite club side and Spurs my second-best club. “Real Madrid did a lot to help the cause of Apartheid many years ago by coming to South Africa during the Apartheid regime. Sport is a unifier, as the great man Nelson Mandela says. “We have a generation of great golfers in South Africa at the moment. They know that you get out of life what you put into it. If you’ve got talent you’ll get your rewards. If you take golf for granted you’re never going to get anywhere – you’ve got to work at it to bring out your talent.” Zack Rasego has had to contend with prejudice and racial problems throughout his career but he has come through them all through hard work and good humour. He’s been fortunate in caddie-ing for some world class players but as his mentor, Gary Player, says ‘the harder you practice the luckier you get.’ Q






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G E T T I NG T O K NOW T H E 2 012 U S O P E N C H A M P I O N

WWG: How old were you and where did you break par for 18 holes the first time? WS: I was 10 and I shot 1-under-par 71 at Porters Neck Country Club in Wilmington, North Carolina.


WWG: What’s the best shot of your career so far? WS: My chip on the 18th hole in the last round of last year’s US Open at the Olympic Club. WWG: What’s the oldest club in your bag? WS: My putter - a Ping model. I’ve had it for seven years. WWG: What’s your all-time favourite movie? WS: Man on Fire. WWG: What’s your favourite musician or group? WS: Chris Tomlin (Christian music). WWG: What’s your favorite sporting event, non-golf? WS: NBA finals. WWG: Who is your favourite male athlete? WS: Tiger Woods. WWG: What’s the best view in golf? WS: From the seventh tee at Pebble Beach. WWG: What’s your favourite TV show? WS: Seinfeld.




The 2013 Desert Swing: Jan 17-20 – Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship Feb 23-26 – Commercialbank Qatar Masters Jan 31-Feb 3 – Omega Dubai Desert Classic

n recent years the Middle East Swing has become one of the most popular features of The European Tour. The very best players from across the globe descend on the region to dust off the cobwebs of the festive season, play some of the finest and well-respected courses in the world and stay in the most luxurious hotels. All this while basking in glorious Middle Eastern sunshine. What could be better? Just three months before the first Major at Augusta National, the lush and lengthy lay-outs in Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai are the perfect preparation for the American-based Majors and the World Golf Championships. The three events regularly attract the finest players in the world with Tiger Woods making his second consecutive appearance in Abu Dhabi and World No.1 Rory McIlroy also teeing it up. World No.4 Justin Rose has confirmed his participation at Abu Dhabi and so too has American Ryder Cup star and two-time PGA Tour winner last year Jason Dufner. Lee Westwood is a regular in Dubai and has been close to winning the last two years while Sergio Garcia is fond of the region and has an excellent record in Qatar with four top 10s in seven outings. Although the big names attract the headlines the strength of The European Tour is often highlighted when unheralded players like Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Robert Rock walk away with the trophies. Spaniard Cabrera-Bello beat Lee Westwood by a stroke in Dubai while Rock held off Woods, McIlroy and Graeme McDowell in Abu Dhabi. With the hungry lesser-established players trying to beat the big boys, the Desert Swing has become one of the most ods of the season. Long may it continue. captivating periods



Abu Dhabi Golf Club Purse: $2,700,000 Course: 7,590 yard, par-72

The Likely Lads: Tiger Woods – The former World No.1 is just a few steps away from reclaiming his position at the top of the world game – the first step will be beating McIlroy in Abu Dhabi. The American challenged but couldn’t get it done in the final group last year and allowed Robert Rock to step in and clinch victory. Can you believe we just wrote that? Well it happened. The Tiger of old just wouldn’t let up when he had a sniff of victory. With three wins on the US Tour last year he’s shown he can still get it done and he’ll be fired up to win again in the Middle East having won twice in Dubai before.

Rory McIlroy – Ulsterman Rory McIlroy is riding the crest of a wave. The untouchable youngster seems to turn it on whenever he wants, be it last year’s US PGA Championship or the season-ending DP World Tour Championship – if he wants it bad enough he can do it. It’s why he’s No.1 in the world and the hottest player on the planet. His switch from Titleist to Nike might take some getting used to but if there’s one man who can cope with a sudden equipment change it’s the naturally gifted McIlroy.

IN BRIEF Abu Dhabi might be the newest event on the Desert Swing but it’s thrown up some superb winners in the form of American Chris DiMarco, Casey and three-time winner Martin Kaymer. It’s the longest layout of the Swing so it suits the bombers like McIlroy, Woods, Kaymer and co., but the steady and solid Robert Rock managed to plot his way to victory so there’s more to it than gripping and ripping. Justin Rose is in the field in Abu Dhabi, as too is his Ryder Cup foe Jason Dufner, while Ernie Els has confirmed he’ll be making his Abu Dhabi debut. A world-class field is assembled to kick off the 2013 Middle East Swing.

Surprise packages: Charl Schwartzel – How can a Major Champion be a surprise package you ask? Well, Schwartzel doesn’t have the best of records in the Middle East and had a relatively poor season last year. However, a runaway win at the Alfred Dunhill Championship last month, after an equally emphatic victory in Thailand, and some home comforts over the Christmas break in South Africa will have set him up nicely for an assault in Abu Dhabi.

Paul Casey – Twice a winner in Abu Dhabi, Paul Casey has been beset by numerous unfortunate injuries over the past few years which have seen him miss out on the last two Ryder Cups with compatriots Luke Donald, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter and even Ross Fisher pinching the limelight from him. What he wouldn’t give for a first win since the 2011 Volvo Golf Champions and what better place for it to happen than Abu Dhabi. The affable Englishman is certainly due some good fortune.


Robert Rock, winner of the 2012 edition

“I’ve played all over the world but this will be my first appearance in Abu Dhabi and I am excited. I have been playing in the Middle East since 1994, I won my first European Tour title in the UAE and I’ve enjoyed a lot of success in the Arabian Gulf; it would be great to add an Abu Dhabi title to my collection.” - ERNIE ELS


Doha Golf Club Purse: $2,500,000 Course: 7,388 yard, par-72

The Likely Lads:


Sergio Garcia – One of the most popular and down-to-earth figures in the game, if one man is due a win in the Middle East it’s Sergio Garcia. He’s had four top 10s in Qatar including a fifth place finish last year and has only missed the cut once – way back on his debut in 1999. Buoyed by his part in Europe’s magnificent Ryder Cup victory and a win on the US PGA Tour in late August, Garcia has rekindled his love for the game after losing it midway through 2010 when he sat out The Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor. Everyone wants to see Garcia back to his best.

Louis Oosthuizen – The 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen makes the game look easy. For a slight chap he doesn’t half give it a wallop so getting round Doha’s fairways will be no problem. In 2012 he elevated himself up to a career-high fifth on the World Ranking and finished the season in third place on The Race to Dubai after two wins. We predict that in time he’ll fondly become known as ‘the Little Easy’ as he’s a pint-size version of his legendary compatriot Ernie Els but with just as luscious a swing.

Surprise packages:

The past two winners in Qatar – Paul Lawrie and Thomas Björn – both defied the course’s knee-knocking length so don’t be surprised if another seasoned campaigner wins it this year by carefully plotting their way around the course. The complete past winners list reads like a Who’s Who of golf with Adam Scott winning it twice, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen both with a win each and Swedish Ryder Cup stars Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson also triumphing in Doha. Paul Lawrie is enjoying a second wind in his career and alongside his win in Qatar last year he won at Gleneagles and made his second Ryder Cup appearance where he crucially beat Brandt Snedeker in the singles.

Henrik Stenson– Swedish Ryder Cup star Henrik Stenson looks like he’s getting back to his best thanks to the help of top coach Pete Cowen and another win against a top-class field like the one in Qatar will see him complete his comeback. A former Players Champion, WGC-Accenture Match Play winner and with a triumph each at the Dubai Desert Classic and the Qatar Masters, Stenson has the mental strength to compete at any level. We believe 2013 could be his year.

Martin Kaymer – Germans are famed for their efficiency so it was no real surprise when Martin Kaymer holed out from five feet to clinch The Ryder Cup – easily the most pressure-packed putt of his illustrious career. Before Medinah he hadn’t had a top-10 finish since April and was so out of form he took a few weeks off to practise and re-discover his game. He even had to answer questions as to whether he was mentally fit enough to play The Ryder Cup! But he dug deep and won the last two holes to beat Steve Stricker and retain the Cup for Europe. From zero to hero. In December he capped his return to form with a win at the Nedbank Challenge. After a break over the winter he’ll be looking for another win in the Middle East following a record three Abu Dhabi titles.

“The Qatar Masters is a tournament I enjoy, where I’ve not only won twice but had a lot of good finishes. It’ll be my third event of 2013 so I should be game sharp, more than I would be if it was my first event. I’m looking forward to it.” PAUL LAWRIE



Emirates Golf Club Purse: $2,500,000 Course: 7,301 yard, par-72


The Likely Lads: Lee Westwood – ‘Westie’ has come close (how many times have we written that about this man?!) in the Desert Classic in recent years with runner-up finishes in two of the last three tournaments. He’s been in the top 10 seven times and was also runner-up in 1999 when the tournament was played at Dubai Creek. The former World No.1 is becoming one of the most experienced players in the game and it’ll take a brave man to bet against him when this year’s Desert Classic rolls around.

Peter Hanson – Swedish Ryder Cup star Peter Hanson has steadily made his way to the upper reaches in the game and two wins and a second successive European Ryder Cup outing under José Maria Olazábal at Medinah last year highlighted his progress. He led the Masters going into the final day before coming up short but he proved he can win against the world’s elite as he held off Rory McIlroy to win the BMW Masters in Shanghai. He’s been under-used by the last two Ryder Cup Captains, scoring just one point from three matches in 2010 and none from two last year but if he keeps on progressing he’ll be harder to ignore in the future.

By far and away the event in the Middle East with the most history, some of the very best players to play the game have triumphed at the Dubai Desert Classic. Tiger Woods, Fred Couples, Ernie Els, Colin Montgomerie, Rory McIlroy, Seve Ballesteros, José Maria Olazábal….we could go on! Because of its pedigree of champions and its Dubai location, the tournament is one of the most popular on The European Tour and the distinct ‘Coffee Pot’ trophy is one that all players want in their collection. Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello proved he can mix it with the big boys by winning last year – beating Lee Westwood by a stroke.. Will it finally be Westwood’s turn this year?

Surprise packages: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño – Spaniards have won the last three Dubai Desert Classics so maybe picking one to be a ‘surprise package’ smacks of folly? Fdez-Castaño won his sixth Tour title at last year’s Italian Open but it came a week after Ryder Cup qualification and a text message from Captain José Maria Olazábal quickly followed saying: “Why couldn’t you do that last week?” FdezCastano had a solid end to the season and has a history of beating Westwood as he pipped the Englishman in a play-off in the 2008 British Masters. Can history repeat itself? Pablo Larrazábal– Sticking with the Spanish theme we reckon it’s time the young Catalonian Pablo Larrazábal stepped up to the plate and underlined his obvious potential by becoming a regular winner on The European Tour – starting with a win in the sunshine of Dubai. His previous two wins came at the French Open in 2008 and the BMW International Open in 2011 where he downed his illustrious compatriot Sergio Garcia in a mammoth play-off.

“I have always enjoyed playing in this tournament. It’s a big event which attracts some of the world’s leading players each year. I know the Majlis course well, and it’s a good golf course. I know my game is good enough to win when I play well enough.” – LEE WESTWOOD


when pleasure became business FORMER Golf Pro and Oil Industry Executive, SIMON McDONALD, Chairman and Founder of SIAN Events and Wicked Tents, talks to Mike Gallemore about his life and times as a golf enthusiast whose pleasure became his business with the help and involvement of his wife, Ann, and members of the family. WWG: Where were you born and when did you first get interested in golf? SMcD: I was born and brought up in Gorleston in Norfolk, England. I was sevenyears old when I started playing golf – at Gorleston Golf Club. My father was a single figure handicapper, who played every Wednesday with his friends at either Aldeburgh or Thorpeness. Every Friday morning from 1948 he played with the Gorleston GC Golf Professional. As soon as I was proficient enough I joined my father on these golf days whenever I could and also at the weekends. It was during this period that I first had the pleasure of playing with the stars who were in Great Yarmouth for the summer season. Great Yarmouth was a major seaside resort in those days and big names came every year from July to September. This was my introduction to the entertainment profession. I quickly became hooked on the game and decided to try and make a career for myself in golf. I worked under the great Dai Rees at South Herts Golf Club in the days when, among others, Tony Jacklin was at Potters Bar and Malcolm Gregson was


at Moor Park. I moved from there to Hilversum Golf Club in Holland under another great golfer, Gerry De Witt, eventually ending up as Head Pro. I then moved on to Elm Ridge GCC in Montreal, Canada, and my last club was Cederbrook GCC in St Jerome, just outside Montreal. This period of my life lasted 12 years and I really enjoyed teaching the game. These were the days when the tournament side of professional golf was still a long way from what we have today. In the 60s even Dai Rees was back in the Pro Shop at weekends, as tournaments in Europe finished with 36 holes on the Friday so that the players could be back at their golf clubs for the weekend. I did play some tournaments during this time, especially in Canada, and I also played the Florida and South African tours without a great deal of distinction. It is a mental game and like many others I don’t believe I had the right mind or the dedication to succeed and realised my golf in the future lay on the other side of the fence. WWG: What were your first impressions of Dubai and the UAE? SMcD: I came to Dubai in July 1996. My first impression was that it was very hot and yet right from the beginning I felt excited. Although a little late in life I was glad I made the move – which is why nearly 17 years later we are still here. I joined

the Emirates Golf Club in the Summer of ’96. Playing in the summer heat was an amazing experience after 18 years playing at places like Royal Aberdeen GC – a great golf course but a wee bit breezy, wet and fresh. WWG: Golf in the UAE was limited in those days. Could you have envisaged the growth of worldclass golf in the region. SMcD: When I arrived there were the 18-hole grass courses at Emirates, the Creek and Nad Al Sheba, plus the 9-hole course at Jebel Ali. There were also the sand courses at Sharajah and the Dubai Country Club, which was a great sand course. Golf was different in those days, probably more Ex-pat orientated and laid back. The main difference now, apart from the many new courses, is the level of the game which has improved significantly. Junior development has taken off in a big way. The Dubai Desert Classic will be 25 years old in 2014. I think the Classic had a major impact on Golf in Dubai as we know it today. In fact, one of my claims to fame is that I was fortunate enough to be 10th Tee starter the first year Tiger Woods came over to play. I had the privilege of announcing him on the tee and was therefore the first starter to announce Tiger Woods in Dubai. Did I envisage the growth of world-class golf? I think, yes. The UAE GCC has all the ingredients for


the development of golf – warm sunny weather, great golf courses, excellent location, tremendous business growth, sponsorship and tourism. Again golf had a big part to play in this, as I met my local partner for SIAN Events in Dubai, Mohamed Juma Buamain, when I first arrived in Dubai in1996, at the Creek Golf and Yacht Club. Mohamed has been a leading figure in the growth of Golf over the last 16 years and now as Vice Chairman and CEO of Golf in Dubai continues to promote and develop the game. Mohamed has been very understanding and supportive and a good friend to the McDonalds from the beginning of our life in Dubai. WWG: When and where did you establish SIAN Events and what were your plans for the company? SMcD: SIAN Events was established as SIAN Dubai in 2000 in a small office in Satwa. The plan was to establish an events company in the region for, initially, entertainment and golf as these were our main passions. However, due to the tremendous growth in the UAE during this start-up period we were concentrating on new business, product launches etc, which brought the other areas of the now SIAN Events llc company to the fore. WWG: How did SIAN Events evolve from a Scottish company to a successful Dubai company? SMcD: SIAN Events evolved from a Scottish company to a Dubai company in much the same way that UM Promotions did in Aberdeen. We set up UM Promotions to satisfy the need for the fastgrowing population of the ‘Granite City’ through the booming oil industry. We organised theatre shows, cabaret evenings, exhibitions, special events, corporate events and numerous golf events and golf trips abroad. Aberdeen was, in a way, the Dubai of Scotland,

Simon McDonald announces the winners of the 2011/2012 SIAN Events Series as the Galleppinis are pictured with their prizes at Arabian Ranches Golf Club last year. The Galleppinis will be defending their title in the 2012/2013 final at Arabian Ranches on January 11. although it was more oil-related growth. In its other businesses it was very similar - and so with it came the need for a UM Promotions or a SIAN Events. WWG: What was the connection that took the company to the UAE? SMcD: Whilst in Aberdeen I worked for a leading US oilfield service company for 26 years as Area Manager UK Ireland. Funnily enough, my Oil Industry involvement was due in some way to golf, as I met the people who were to introduce me to my Oilfield career on the golf course. I was offered the position of Managing Director of their Joint Venture division in the GCC, India and Pakistan in 1996 which was how I came to travel to Dubai.

WWG: What came first in your plans for the company – the entertainment business or golf? SMcD: As golf has always been a major part of my life, and therefore my family’s as well, any business of ours would, I feel, always involve golf one way or another. In fact, running The Bobby Davro Classic and various Oil-related events were some of our first projects in Dubai. The Directors of SIAN Events are myself, my wife, Ann, and our daughter, Claire. We were the three members of the family who started SIAN Dubai, initially. Ann has been in Dubai since the beginning. Claire did spend a year out in Dubai then returned to the UK to complete her University degree. Then she rejoined us after a spell in Edinburgh to start up


??/"?PWIZMaW]ZOWTÅVOPMZWM[IVL_Pa·IVL_PW_W]TLUISM up your favourite fourball? SMcD: My only real hero in golf is Arnold Palmer. He just came along I\\PMZQOP\\QUMWNUaTQNM1_QTTVM^MZNWZOM\\PMÅZ[\\QUM1[I_ him for real. It was at the Coral Springs Open in Florida in 1971. An enormous gallery came over the hill, followed moments later by the great man himself walking down the fairway. I have to admit I had tears in my eyes. Seve and Walter Hagen would have been the other \_WXTIaMZ[_Q\P*MV0WOIVI[ÅZ[\ZM[MZ^M

the company. Claire shares our love of the theatre and part of her responsibilities in London is to look after SIAN’s Artist Management division. Our various positions are: Simon McDonald, Chairman, Founder; Ann McDonald, Executive Director (Ann and I met on the stage in the Great Yarmouth Amateur Dramatic Society). Ann is a dancer and shares the same passion for the entertainment world as I do. She’s also a good golfer, but is now more into horses and a her grandchildren; Claire McDonald, Creative Director (based in London most of the time now). Claire manages our UK office at Sphere Studios, Battersea; Alistair McDonald, our youngest son, who also had a brief spell in Dubai and then returned to the UK to complete his studies before joining Norwich Union. Alistair joined the company when we decided to open Wicked Tents. Alistair is now Managing Director of WT and Flow, our air conditioning company, which was opened two years ago; The last member of the family involved in the business is Lauren McDonald, Alistair’s wife. Lauren moved over with Alistair and heads up our décor and Costume department. Lauren is also involved in the conception of events with the SIAN planning team headed up by our General Manager at SIAN,


Kelly Fitzgerald. Alistair and Lauren have a beautiful two year old daughter born in Dubai, called Eva Bo. The only members of the family not working in the business are Edmond McDonald our eldest son and his wife, Suzanne. They also live in Dubai. Edmond is Captain on 777s at Emirates Airline and has been for the past 14 years. Suzanne brings a taste of Scotland to Dubai with her Toffee Princess flavours, which are very popular here in Dubai. They have two great children, Chloe, aged 15 years and Ethen, 12 years.

opportunities in the Air conditioning business and opened Flow, our air conditioning company, another natural progression. Our aim was to strengthen each company with the next, covering the various major components of events, entertainment and, of course, Golf. Last year Wicked were awarded, with our partners De Boer, The Race to Dubai contract for our structures for the next three years. This was testament to the commitment and the progress the company has made.

WWG: You branched out to create Wicked Tents in 2008. Was this a natural progression and what were your aims? SMcD: Wicked Tents was a natural progression really. It was set up to satisfy the need for unique structures in the use of tents. We started with one Saddle Span structure and now, with the hard work and endeavours of Alistair and his team, we have grown to a point now where two warehouses and a large open storage area allows Wicked to offer a whole variety of structures with decors to suite the requirements and the occasion. Two years ago Wicked Tents identified the

WWG: What is the funniest thing you’ve seen on a golf course? SMcD: I’ve seen a few comical things on golf courses around the world but one of the funniest comments was on the driving range at Penina in Portugal where the late, great Sir Henry Cotton was giving a “Golf in” to my group, providing everyone with a little swing advice and a few encouraging words. He then came up to one of our American guests, who was thrashing the ball all over the place. “Dear boy” Henry said, “may I ask how long you have been playing this wonderful game.” Answer: “Well, I guess it must be all of 15 years now.” Henry responded “Oh dear, what an awful waste of time.” Q

Family Fortunes THE McDonalds who make SIAN Events a family business in every sense of the word: (from left to right): Wife and Executive Director, Ann; son Alistair, Managing Director of Wicked Tents and Flow; daughter Claire, Creative Director; Lauren, wife of Alistair, heads up the Decor and Costume Department. There is also SIAN General Manager, Kelly Fitgerald.

‘sian – A serious but good fun series’


HE SIAN Events Golf Series Championship came about through Simon McDonald’s association with Arabian Ranches Golf Club, having moved home there. “Basically, we wanted to get back into golf and when we moved to Arabian Ranches I thought it was a good opportunity for SIAN to sponsor a tournament,” says Simon. In addition, Elliott Gray and his team at the club are first class and a pleasure to work with. “We wanted a tournament that was serious but good fun. The format became four qualifying rounds in March-May-October-November with the final in January with 10 teams from each round qualifying for the final. “The 2012/2013 final is as last year – a pairs event with both stableford scores counting. The top three teams are the main winners with the prize table including individual prizes. It’s a tough format but a fair one. The Prize-giving Gala Evening will be held on the Arabian Ranches GC Front Terrace with food,

beverages, entertainment and a few surprises. We have had more than 640 qualifiers over the last two seasons with 80 teams making it to the two finals. Our aim for 2013/2014 is to grow the tournament and encourage teams from further afield, eventually creating a truly international event while keeping local team qualifying as the core of the tournament. We’re looking forward to a great Grand Finale on January 11 with the Galeppinis defending their title and an even greater SIAN Events Golf Series in the coming year.” SIAN are also working with certain golf clubs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to present ‘Supper Cabaret Evenings in the Company of...’“These events,” says Simon, “proved very popular when we held four pilot events at Arabian Ranches. We intend to hold Thursday evening events at Arabian Ranches and Friday evenings at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on a monthly basis up until April. We’re also planning to launch a very special Golf Day which we hope will become an annual event on the UAE golfing calendar. Q

fenwicks take final qualifier In the final 2012/2013 SIAN Events Golf Series qualifier Nigel and Gleb Fenwick were crowned Champions at Arabian Ranches Golf Club on Friday, 23rd November in the 4th and concluding qualifier of the SIAN Events Golf Series. On a perfect day with 76 competitors in the field the Fenwicks managed to post a brilliant score of 75 combined stableford points to claim the title. Each competitor used his or her handicap index as the Tournament allowance. The winners were impressive on their way to posting 75 points and won the title by three points from runners-up Alain Delacourte and Mohamed Mok. In a format that required both players to score consistently the champions posted Individual scores of 43 by Gleb and 32 by Nigel respectively on their way to victory. The Fenwicks posted an outward half of 37 and an inward half of 38 points as a team. Both players made valuable contributions to the card and shared the responsibility equally. The champions never scored worse than two points on a hole and on six occasions combined for five points or better. The prize presentation (pictured below) was conducted by Simon McDonald, Chairman and Founder of SIAN Events who presented the prizes to Nigel and Gleb Fenwick


Gleb Fenwick Tom Freer Mohamed Mok Patrick Poles Adele McKelvey Ian Souter Lise Slane Sheila Alban Florence Corgini JC Hut Ed McDonald Bryan Banner Anthony Foreman Terry Vaughan Ian Stones Colin Graham Graham Alban Andy Scanlan Adrienne Fullerton Rania Hage Edoardo Galeppini Hakan Karlsson David Loft Graeme Wallace Jon Skittrall Xavier Farrington Jamie Rooms Eric Bruce Smith Kevin Warren Wayne Snow Simon McDonald Francisco Giles Gary Swan Max Burrow Pauline Wallace Mark Evans Mel Stewart Detlef Proscold John Onuonga Fred Watts

Nigel Fenwick Paul Baxter Alain Delacourte Jacques Leretz Rebecca Ward Mark Kenaghan Esther Byrne Anne Hainey Jacques Corgini Catherine Hut Trevor Varri Ali McDonald David French John Hainey Martin Atack Eddie Ramage Daryl Blanchard Andy Barker Paul Clark Graham Atherton Beatrice Galeppini Pernilla Karlsson Jett Smith Kevin Barrett Peter Boland John Parsons Emma Rooms Jane Bruce Smith Graham Tickell Alex Blom Mike Murray Ron Roberts Graham Wood Tobias Parkin Amanda Barrett Karen Evans Jaqui Stewart Steve Bennett Maureen Onuonga John Watts


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if anyone can break jack’s record it’s rory


S we look ahead to the new 2013 season all eyes will be focused on Rory McIlroy to see whether he can carry on from where he left off in 2012. I’m a big fan of Rory’s and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for him this year to win some more Majors. Rory is on a roll and I really believe that he is more likely to break Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 Majors than Tiger Woods. Rory may have won just two Majors but two from seven isn’t a bad strike rate and he’s only 23 years old while Woods is 38 and hasn’t won a Major since 2008. Every year that passes by that Tiger hasn’t won a Major it just gets that much harder to win a Grand Slam event. It doesn’t matter how many Majors he’s won, it just becomes more difficult. He may win one or two more but I don’t think he will win the four or five more that he needs to break the record. In winning the 2011 US Open and the 2012 US PGA Championship, both by eight shots, Rory has shown that the sky’s the limit for him. He’s young, he’s ahead of the game, he is ahead of the curve on a lot of things and he has a very balanced life across the board. Somebody will break Jack’s record one day

and if anyone can do it, it could be Rory – and I’d love to see him do it. I’M pleased to hear that anchoring longhandled putters is finally going to be banned. I’ve spoken out about it since the mid-1980s. I’m a great believer that one of the biggest parts of the game is your nerves and how your mind connects electrically with your muscles. How you control your body controls your golf swing and anchoring the putter halts that process and makes it easier. WE had another successful Franklin Templeton Shootout at Tiburon Golf Course in Naples, Florida, last month with Kenny Perry and Sean O’Hair birdieing five of the last six holes to win in spectacular style. In winning the Shootout for the third time, with different partners, Kenny, aged 52, became the oldest winner of the event. He partnered

John Houston to win in 2005 and Scott Hoch in 2008. Kenny joined Steve Elkington, Fred Couples, Brad Faxon and Scott McCarron as three-time winners of the Shootout. Rory Sabbatini and Charles Howell III made a late charge to take second place with Jason Dufner and Vijay Singh finishing third. Kenny and Sean split $750,000 of the $3 million purse. We first launched the Shootout in 1989 at the golf course I designed at Tiburon, Naples. The three-day event I host takes place during the PGA Tour’s Challenge Season, after the last official money list event of the season. The following week it was very rewarding for me that the PNC Father/Son Challenge returned to the schedule after a break of three years to be played on two of the other golf course I designed at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grand Lakes. Q



another vintage year


’M PLEASED to say that the rise and rise of South African golfers is continuing at pace. Charl Schwartzel, winner of the 2011 Masters Tournament ended his 2012 campaign at the top of his game. Following his share of third place at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, Charl went on to win the Thailand Golf Championship by an emphatic 11 shots and the following week won the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek, South Africa, by a remarkable 12 shots. Charl shot a tournament record 67-64-64-69 to finish on 24-under 264 for his eighth European Tour win. When he birdied the last he recorded the third biggest winning margin in European Tour history and continued his rise up the World Ranking to 14th place. Charl must have a soft spot for Leopard Creek, which borders on to the magnificent Kruger National Park. He won his first European Tour event there in 2004 and has had four runner-up finishes at the course. It was also his second victory in the Alfred Dunhill, having also won the Joburg Open twice. Fellow South African George Coetzee, who has greatly impressed me throughout the 2012 season, shot a final round 65 to finish in a share of 10th place which secured his position as 49th in the World Top 50 and booked his place for a spot at this year’s Masters Tournament. Playing at Augusta National will be a great experience for George, who I fully expect to be a winner soon on The European Tour this season. Another South African who will be making his Masters debut is Branden Grace, who shared 12th place at Leopard Creek with fellow South African Tyrone Van Aswegen and England’s David Howell. Branden has just completed a phenomenal 2012 season, winning five times, four times on The European Tour, and shooting to 34th on the World Ranking. It was good to talk to Branden after his victory in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in October, following his outstanding wins at the Joburg Open, the Volvo Golf Champions tournament at Fancourt

and the Volvo China Open earlier in the year. He’s a very likeable personality and a dedicated golfer. It’s a tough proposition playing Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and the Old Course at St Andrews but Branden rose to the occasion at the Home of Golf and won the Dunhill by two shots in fine style. I was pleased to congratulate Branden on his fantastic year and wish him well for the 2013 season. I’m also pleased that Branden has Zack Rasego as his caddie, both of whom are featured in this edition of Worldwide Golf. Zack is a special individual. I helped teach him to be a caddie. He caddied for me on The European Tour and I’m so happy he made the journey from the bush to being an award-winning bagman working for a while for Louis Oosthuizen and now for Branden. Do the double MY congratulations go to Tom Lehman for winning back-to-back Charles Schwab Cups to become the first player in the history of the US PGA Champions Tour to do the double. He also collected the Player of the Year Award. Another former Ryder Cup Captain, Bernhard Langer, chased Tom all the way to the line in the Charles Schwab Cup finishing just 435 points behind in second place. But Bernhard did win the the Arnold Palmer Award as the Champions Tour leading money winner for a record fourth time and was the only player to break the $2 million barrier in prize money earnings for the 2012 US Champions Tour season. Bernhard showed just how good he still is by shooting a final round 62 to win the 3M Championship in August and then shot a final round 63 to win the SAS

Championship in October. Two wins and 17 top 10 finishes is quite an achievement. England’s Roger Chapman should also be congratulated for winning two Majors on the US Champions Tour in 2012 in his rookie season. Former European Tour player Roger had been working as a Rules Official before joining the European Senior Tour on reaching the qualifying age of 50. After playing just one event on the Senior Tour Roger went over to the United States in May and became the first Englishman to win the US Senior PGA Championship. He returned seven weeks later to the state of Michigan to win the US Senior Open and finish fourth on the US Champions Tour. Roger finished top on the European Senior Tour Order of Merit and was awarded Honourary Life Membership of The European Tour. I’ve often said that the standard of golf played on the European Senior Tour and the US PGA Champions Tour is very little different to that on the two regular Tours. Miguel Angel Jiménez proved the point again by winning the Hong Kong Open on The European Tour with a final round 65 to become the oldest winner on the Tour at 48 years and 318 days. It was his 19th win on The European Tour and the remarkable aspect of his victory is that 12 of those wins have come after reaching the age of 40. I wish all the players on the European Senior Tour and the US PGA Champions Tour my best wishes for the 2013 season and with the introduction of players like Colin Montgomerie, who becomes eligible on reaching 50 in June, we can be sure to see some more outstanding golf from the over-50s. Q




THE Desert Swing is going to be a huge spectacle this year. We’ve got Tiger and Rory playing in Abu Dhabi so that’s going to be a massive tournament to start things off. Just those two alone, regardless of who else plays, will attract huge attention. Of course someone could fly under the radar and spoil the party, like Robert Rock did last year. Rocky’s a good enough player but he’ll only win occasionally – players like him only win now and again because while they have the ability to be brilliant on a given week, they lack the consistency of the top players to do it week in, week out. We’ve seen that happen a lot with players that I call, ‘basic manipulators.’ They can have great weeks, but their performance graph goes up and down like a yo-yo from good to bad. With a really good player, the performance graph is a lot more consistent. Qatar should be interesting. The wind can really get blowing there and those conditions tend to even out the playing field somewhat. We saw that last month at the Australian Open where 63-yearold Tom Watson had the lowest round of the day when the weather was bad in the final round, – and Peter Senior, a 53-year-old, won it. The wily old foxes knew how to get it round. In extreme conditions knowledge of how to play the game becomes important. That could be a deciding factor in Qatar. It’s always going to be windy there but then again you’ve got to be fairly long, too, because of the length of the course. But, like any tournament, it comes down to putting at the end of the day. Rory won the DP World Tour Championship with a score of 23-under and how many players shot 14-under or better? It was because the greens at Jumeirah Golf Estates were good and if the greens are good, players of that calibre are going to score, it’s as simple as that. They can set the course up as tough as they like but if the greens are good, they’re still going to score.

Making a stand It’s not looking as though the Desert Classic will have quite as good a field as usual this year with neither Rory nor Tiger playing. Lee (Westwood) will be there, Jiménez will be there and obviously last year’s winner Rafael Cabrera-Bello plus Stenson and many other top players. It will be a decent field but not a stellar field. But maybe the promoters are making a stand and saying, ‘we’re not prepared to pay half a million dollars for Joe Bloggs to play.’ Tiger will be playing in the 25th anniversary of the event next year so perhaps they’re having to cut their cloth this year in order to afford him! But you’d want Woods to play in the anniversary event so you

Rory’s given Tiger the kick he needed can’t blame them for doing that. They’re competing with silly appearance money in the other two events and Dubai hasn’t got silly money anymore – so I think they’re quite right in what they’re doing. I would expect Henrik Stenson to win one of three Desert Swing events now that he’s back on form. He had a few technical issues which I helped him overcome and perhaps he also just needed to regain a little bit of self belief. Once you start to believe in the technique, then the technical side doesn’t become such a big issue. Charl Schwartzel is another of my players who’s right at the top of his game again. He’s a quality player and once he started understanding his golf swing he was back to his best. But, again, it’s really all about putting. Charl has rediscovered his putting touch. If you watched him in Thailand where he won by 11 shots, he never missed from inside 10 feet and if you’re doing that you can’t fail. Luke Donald is something like 92% on target from those distances – I would win a tournament if I was doing that! But the South Africans in general read the grain much better than everybody else because they’re brought up on it – they see it much clearer. It’s going to be an interesting year. There’s a slight changing of the guard and you have to watch out for the youngsters coming through. Rory’s obviously

going to have a great year again – he’s such a quality player. I think Woods will probably win one of the Majors this year. The success of Rory has given him the initiative and the motivation to get back because he’s got somebody to battle against. It’s like Roger Federer in tennis – as soon somebody comes through and challenges him, he steps up his game. But as I said in last month’s column, age does make everybody look ordinary. If Tiger had putted better in the Majors last year he’d probably have won one so I think that’s what he’ll be working on. The work he’s done with Sean Foley is really good so he’s got no problems there. I think there’ll also be some dark horses – somebody off the wall like Joost Luiten, who won once last year. I expect somebody like that to come through and win, but as I said, they don’t win on a regular basis – that’s the difference. People don’t realise how difficult it is to win two or three times in a year – it’s a fantastic achievement. I think Branden Grace may struggle to follow up on last year when he won five times in total. He’ll constantly be judging himself against that season and you can’t do that – you’ve got to look at your average and try and improve on that, not try and improve on the best year you’ve ever had. Whatever happens this season I’m looking forward to seeing how 2013 unfolds. Q





SWING Set up: Arms are hanging under his balance and his initial take away movement is correct.

Here Branden is starting to lift his wrists, which means he’s going to try and add the power a little early. To set the wrist this hard is a very powerful movement.

Now he’s getting it down as hard as he can but he’s opened his body a bit early. As a result you can see he’s thrown his right arm and shoulder at the ball to save the shot. Normally you would like to see the hip and shoulder angle match each other.

Branden’s squatting down reasonably, although he’s held his arms up in position, he’s already started his down swing. This is quite an aggressive movement. 40

Here the club’s coming out in front through his right shoulder



He’s set the club very well here, loaded the shoulders brilliantly and held position through the back swing.

Branden is a very powerful player and he got an ‘axe -like’ swing. He picks the club up very early, sets it, winds it up and really gets down and into the ball. It’s a very aggressive golf swing and there’s isn’t much wrong with the technique. He’s a young player and likes to give it a dig but what makes this aggressive swing consistent is talent. He makes sure the club never gets stuck behind him and keeps his arms arm out in front, which means his bad shot is always going to be reasonable.



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ocated between Harrogate and York, The Flaxby Country Club will offer unrivalled luxury. Set around the existing 27-hole Flaxby Park Golf Club, and nestling in nearly 300 acres of rolling North Yorkshire countryside, the Club will include over 300 rooms, four helipads, three restaurants, a luxury spa complex, bars and boutiques. With work set to start on the £100 million development in February 2013 the Club will also feature conference facilities, nature trails and a 24hour driving range. The course, which was originally designed by David Hemstock Associates, currently features more than 18,000 newly-planted trees and several lakes. The par 72 18-hole course is nearly 7,000 yards from

the Championship tees and offers tee positions for all skill levels as well. The Club also includes a new nine-hole, par 35 academy course. Troon Golf, the leader in upscale golf course management, has been appointed to run and remodel the Flaxby course. Paul Ellis, Managing Director of The Skelwith Group, comments: “This hotel and spa will be the North of England’s premier destination for business, leisure and all special occasions. It will boost the local and regional economy and be the last word in luxury travel experience. It will offer the facilities, opulence and service of a Park Lane hotel, but be set in beautiful Yorkshire Countryside.” Due to open in late 2014 the existing 27 holes, in a classically beautiful Yorkshire landscape, will be the subject of a major renovation and capital investment in order to provide a complimentary

five star golf experience for hotel guests and local golfers alike. Currently world-class golf architects are competing for the work on this very special site with a brief to upgrade the existing courses to a standard that will allow The Flaxby to become a household name amongst golfers when considering the great British courses, and one that will allows it to be a contender to host The Ryder Cup and European Tour events on the men’s and ladies’ professional tours. The ambitious plans would see the world’s première golfing competition return to Yorkshire for the first time since Dai Rees captained Great Britain to victory at Rotherham’s Lindrick Golf Club in1957. The Flaxby will also be the sister hotel to the luxurious Raithwaite Hall Country Retreat in Sandsend, Whitby, which was opened by the Skelwith Group in October 2011.

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PLAY WHERE THE PROS PLAY Experience the best Egypt has to offer with Maritim Jolie Ville Golf & Resort in Sharm el-Sheikh. Play golf or simply relax at the beach or by the pool – there is no better place to do that than at the Maritim Jolie Ville Golf & Resort. The resort offers 5 star accommodation and features restaurants and bars which include many international themed buffets including Japanese, Chinese, Italian and Thai cuisine. With some of the largest and most luxurious rooms in Sharm set amidst beautifully landscaped gardens, the Maritim Jolie Ville Golf & Resort is the best the Red Sea Riviera has to offer. Maritim Jolie Ville Golf & Resort Phone: +2069 3603 200 Fax: +2069 3603 225

BY- Bryan Smyth, Golf Professional at Emirates Golf Club

If we actually set ourselves correctly at address, we can use the sand correctly to get the ball moving towards the target. It makes much more sense, as with all shots, to set up much squarer on to the target, as pictured left. You will notice that my toe line is slightly open to the target line, however my heel line is still parallel. The one thing we maintain from the old way of playing the shot is the positioning of the ball. The reason the toe line is slightly open is because I have turned my front foot and knee towards the target to help provide stability in the lower body and allow me to rotate easier around my front leg. Because of this I will still have to swing slightly across the target line to match the direction of my toes. I also make sure the club shaft sits at 90°, pictured below, to the swing line, this helps increase the loft and bounce of the club without pointing the club away from target.

GET Square at address

√ This address position allows me to swing on a better path compressing the sand into the back of the ball imparting backspin so the ball will fly straight and also roll straight once it lands

Once we get these basics in place we can then start to control the type of shot we hit from the sand, high and spinning or a lower running shot. Either way with the ball always moving towards the target we can actually start thinking about holing a few!

'SQIRMKLXGPYFFMRKSRXLI*EPHSGSYVWIEX)QMVEXIW+SPJ'PYFERHKIXSRXLIHERGI¾SSV every night of the week. Enjoy 9 or 18 holes with tee times available until 9.55pm. For tee time reservations contact +971 4 380 1234 or email



WORLDWIDE Golf Open Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club 22nd February 2013 - 1.00pm shotgun Format: 4 player team, best 2 stableford scores to count. 18 hole, 4 player team format. Open to all amateur Men and Ladies with a valid handicap index or certificate, this would need to be produced prior to the event. The R&A rules of golf along with the AESGC local rules will apply. All Men will play from the AESGC blue tee’s, all Ladies from the red. Ties will be decided by normal count back rules.

Please return the entry form below to the AESGC golf reception, fax to +971 3 768 331 or email to Closing date for entries will be Saturday 16th February, teams will be notified of their participation after the closing date. The event is limited to 24 teams and will be based on order of entry. Cancelation within 24 hours or no shows will be charged the full entry fee.

Entry fee per player AESGC Gold member 100 AED AESGC Silver member 195 AED EGF member 275 AED Visitor 300 AED Junior visitor (under 16) 200 AED Which includes - round of golf, shared golf cart, range balls, prizes and presentation buffet Prizes Overall winners, runners up and third place, plus special events Hilton Al Ain offer Accommodation is available and can be arranged through the AESGC on request.

Player 1: ______________________________ Club: __________________________ Hcp:___ Contact number:________________________ Email address : _________________________

Player 2: ______________________________ Club: __________________________ Hcp:___ Contact number:________________________ Email address : _________________________

Player 3: ______________________________ Club: __________________________ Hcp:___ Contact number:________________________ Email address : _________________________


4: ______________________________ Club: __________________________ Hcp:___ Contact number:________________________ Email address : _________________________

Send the below players information for the Hilton Al Ain (tick the box where appropriate) 

Player 1

P layer 2

Player  3

Player  4

WORLDWIDE Golf Open - Friday 22nd February 2013 Entry Form For more information please contact Luke by calling +971 3 702 6400 or email

SIMON DUFFIELD Mike Gallemore talks to Simon Duffield, the new General Manager of Almouj Golf. WWG: Where were you born and brought up, what were your earliest memories of golf and do you have a family? SD: I was born in Guildford south of London in the UK. I’m married to Allynne and have two children, Brandon 11 and Brooke 9. My first golf experiences as a youngster centered on weekends, visiting a number of different courses with my father. I was mainly hunting for golf balls to sell whilst my father was improving his handicap. I soon became fascinated by all the wonderful segments that when put together make up our beautiful game. WWG: Where have you worked prior to coming to Almouj Golf The Wave, Muscat, Oman? SD: I was working for Emaar, based in Egypt and held the positions of General Manager at Uptown Cairo and Marassi Golf Clubs and also Director of Operations – Hospitality. Prior to that I was the GM/Owners Representative at the 27-hole Faldo designed Katameya Dunes in New Cairo. WWG: You worked in Egypt during a very difficult time for the country from when golf seemed to be booming to when the country was in turmoil. That must have been a tough time to run a golf club? SD: Living in Egypt during the ‘revolution’ and through the dark days that followed was certainly a challenge both professionally and personally. This once great nation of Egypt had sadly been in decline for many years and in the end the people had no choice but to demand a change, which until today has come at an awful price. Golf was the last thing on everyone’s mind! But as with anything built on a solid foundation, we managed to weather the seamlessly never-ending storm. Signs of recovery are now starting to show, which the country really deserves as it has some wonderful golf courses. WWG: Oman is a Sultanate that has very few golfers, either locals or ex-pats, although The Wave does have a growing, loyal membership. Do you feel you have to grow your own golfers to make it work? 56

SD: That’s the appealing challenge. I am so fortunate that Amouj Golf is a world-class facility. It was a big investment and a huge commitment to build such a facility in an emerging market but thanks to The Wave’s vision and dedication we have now put Muscat on the world sporting map. The country is absolutely stunning, the people are some of the warmest and friendliest I have ever met so we have all the components to introduce and grow the game here. Our 2013 current Omani members are showing a real ability and passion for the game which is really encouraging.

attractions here. Again, here at The Wave we are lucky in that we have a superb marina which offers sailing, boat trips and moorings so we have a great opportunity to package land and sea activities. Tourism in general is growing annually in Oman and extra facilities are coming on line all the time, such as new hotels, shopping malls, a massive extension to the airport and many wide-ranging infrastructure projects.

WWG: Are you looking at ways and means of bringing more golf tourists to The Wave? SD: This is a key element in our strategy and one which we will work closely with the relevant government departments and official bodies. Our close proximity to Dubai is a real advantage and many people already drive here and stay a night or two. We also have great synergies with Dubai in the fact that we are managed and operated by Dubai Golf so member exchange days, member benefits and a variety of benefits are all in our plans. Oman has so much to offer golf tourists so we are looking at a combination of golf mixed with some of the other many wonderful

WWG: With the Challenge Tour event in October The Wave has a good opportunity to showcase itself to the golf world. Are you looking forward to an interesting couple of years ahead? SD: This year and next year are looking like being two fantastic years for Almouj Golf. The outstanding course design really lends itself to be on the world stage. The course will be a great test for the Challenge Tour players. It’s 7,310 yards off the back tees and combined with its links terrain makes for a truly great golf course. The international exposure the Challenge Tour will bring to us and Oman in general will be enormous


and I see it as the very foundation for putting Oman golf on the map. We are also in discussions about a main European Tour event in early 2014 so watch this space! WWG: You are familiar with Greg Normandesigned courses – how does The Wave compare? SD: Yes, two in particular. When I was the GM at the world-renowned Ballybunion Golf Club in South West Ireland, our next door neighbour was Doonbeg, a Greg Norman links course design. The other Norman course I know well is The Allegria course in Cairo, Egypt. Again a great golf course but created with the real estate component in mind which happens on so many modern day golf developments. The design of Almouj Golf did not have to compensate for real estate as we don’t have any houses around the course, just the sea on one side and the magnificent mountains on the other side. Our real estate component is in the purpose-built community which is The Wave. Secondly, Greg Norman wanted his course design to add to the environmental impact of the area

which has certainly been achieved. Some of the vast quantities and species of bird life here on the course and in our lakes surely can’t be found on many other golf courses in the world. So Greg had all the tools he needed and he took full advantage of them. I have to say he has produced one of the potentially greatest modern day courses to be found in any country of the world. I had heard all the rumours and reports about Almouj Golf but seeing is believing and I can tell you that it is all true, a stunning course! WWG: From your experience in the Middle East do you believe it is possible to run a successful, profitable business as a stand-alone golf course without the addition of real estate and hotels? SD: I do but it will take a period of time following a well devised strategic plan and some hard, dedicated work to make it happen. These days golf is a tough business in an established golf country but being in a new market will be a real challenge. A successful golf course is the catalyst which allows many other businesses and market

segments to flourish so the understanding of this core principle will help us when dealing with other organisations. The key is to focus on three main elements: Firstly, the national market, introduction, development and retention; the second element is the overseas market, which will depend on market awareness, value and logistics as Oman has all the other elements needed to attract international tourists; the third element is our existing business in terms of our product quality, value, consistency, departmental market share, new revenue streams and overall guest experience. So yes I do believe we will be a profitable business. WWG: What are your first impressions of Oman and have you been to the Sultanate before? SD: What can one say that hasn’t been said already? Oman is stunning, special, unique breathtaking – I could go on forever. It’s a rare country blessed with so many different elements. Where else in the world would you find desert and tropical climates, snow, mountains, endless beaches, rivers, lakes, forests, waddies, islands, deep sea diving, sand deserts and beautiful wildlife



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all rolled into one country? I honestly can’t believe that I have not visited Oman before now – my loss! WWG: What are your most memorable moments of either playing or watching golf? SD: Whilst working at Wentworth in the UK I was fortunate enough to see some of my heroes such as the late Seve Ballesteros and Jack Nicklaus but one exceptional memory was watching Sandy Lyle at 6.30am one autumn morning just out for a practice on the hole that was close by his house. He said to me: “Watch this, I will put four balls onto the green (from about 125 yards) in the pattern of a compass, North, East, South and West.” I smiled and then watched in amazement as he peppered the flag to within a couple of feet in the shape of a compass. Had he been able to replicate that in a tournament he would have potentially been the greatest golfer the world had ever seen. WWG: Who are your golfing heroes – and why? SD: Not so much heroes but more like favourites are John Daly and Darren Clarke. No gyms or diets – just raw talent and a genuine ability and an enjoyment for the game. I also like the way they flirted with the acceptable etiquette rules which, in turn, helped open up the game to other classes of society. WWG: Do you have any other hobbies or pastimes? SD: If time allows I like photography, so Oman is perfect. Cars are my other great passion or should I say a weakness for spending too much on exotic cars. Out of all the cars I have owned, my favourite was an AC Cobra followed by a 3000 MGC. WWG: How does the relationship with Chris May and Dubai Golf work and do you believe that the Dubai Golf connection is a huge

advantage to The Wave going forwards? SD: For sure, being neighbours, our geographical location to Dubai is perfect with so many exchanges, trips, competitions between us and Dubai Golf members are all on the cards. Dubai Golf has a second to none reputation in the industry so for us in a new market their contribution and valuable experience is very important to us at The Wave. The success they have created at Emirates Golf Club and the Creek will certainly flow through to Oman. Chris is a very experienced, clever and knowledgeable guy so with his leadership Dubai Golf can only go from strength to strength.

WWG: What is your view of the golfing scene in the Middle East overall? SD: Well it is very different from country to country but, overall, it’s proving to still be a buoyant and growing market while in other regions it is a declining market. The success of Dubai has certainly helped other GCC countries. I don’t think there will ever be another Dubai. I believe Oman has a more structured approach to development, taking into account the natural beauty, history and culture of the Sulanate and a realistic return on investment!

WWG: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the golf course? It has to be John Daly – maybe using a coke can as a tee or getting served his divorce papers at the Masters tournament at Augusta. WWG: Who would be your favourite fourball – and why? Eric Cantona – a legend. Would love to know what makes him tick. The late Bobby Jones. Jones is most famous for his unique “Grand Slam,” consisting of his victory in all four Major golf tournaments of his era as an amateur in 1930. It would be an honour playing with him as money did not seem to be the motivation, hence he kept his amateur status. Completing the fourball would be Graeme McDowell – I met him a few times at Ballybunion and he’s a really nice guy and should be winning many more tournaments. He has the ability to be top three in the world but consistency lets Bobby Jones him down. He’s also a bit of a lad with the whole ‘G-Mac’ thing going on.

Graeme McDowell

Eric Cantona


63 64



AL MOUJ GOLF, MUSCAT The Greg-Norman designed course at Al Mouj Golf in Oman is one of the most breathtaking courses in the Middle East.


Winners on the day pictured with Darwish Al Qubaisi.

THE 41st UAE National Day was celebrated in full pomp and splendour by UAE golfers at Yas Links, Abu Dhabi, recently as close to 100 players from all over the UAE, braved unstable weather conditions for an afternoon shotgun tournament. Whilst enjoying the festive mood the players also showed off their competitive edge and it was the team comprising of Saleh Al Ameri, Nawaf Fawaz, Haneef Rabbani and Maajid Madni who took home the trophy after carding 86 points collectively. Finishing in second place, five points further back, was the team of Jalal Abbasi, Fathi and Haridas Kondath and Vijayesh Kondath with Darwish Al Qubaisi, Abdullah Al Humaidan, Kevin Roy and Saeem Rehman taking third place on 80 points. Organised by the Emirates Golf Federation and sponsored by National Marine Dredging company the UAE National Day golf tournament is held annually to celebrate the UAE National Day. The event is traditionally played in team Betterball Stableford format, with two scores to count from a team of four. Running parallel to the main event

was a junior Par-3 challenge and Khaled Al Mutawa and Bailey Hunt won the Betterball pairs competition by three strokes over Maryam Al Marzouqi and Mark Baxter with third place going to Mahmood Skaik and Mackenzie Hunt. Shaikh Nahyan bin Diab bin Saif Al Nahyan graced the occasion with his presence and also handed out commemorative gifts to the juniors. Darwish Al Qubaisi, representing NMDC along with Shaikh Nahyan bin Diab bin Saif Al Nahyan handed over trophies to all the day’s prize winners. “Without the support from generous sponsors like NMDC, it would not be possible for us to host events of such stature,” said Khalid Mubarak Al Shamsi, Secretary General of the Emirates Golf Federation. “We must also appreciate the enthusiasm of UAE golfers, Emiratis and residents, who made the event a successful and enjoyable experience for all. Last but not the least we thank the Yas Links Abu Dhabi team for welcoming us back to their splendid course for a second successive season. We look forward to bigger and better editions in following years.”


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t surprised me a few weeks ago when I realised that I was at the seventh Omega Dubai Ladies Masters. I couldn’t believe that seven years had passed since golf in Dubai hosted the first Dubai Ladies Masters at the Emirates Golf Club. It’s a fantastically well organised event and I have to say that everything from how the course was set up and the day to day running, to the fine scones in the hospitality boxes (not that I had any of course!), was first class. Golf in Dubai should be proud of what they’ve achieved with the event, year on year. Last year, Sana Tufail (Eng) became the first female golfer to represent the UAE with her invitation to play in the Dubai Ladies Masters – a tough act to follow as Sana was in the mix of the cream of the LET after round 1. This year Nanna Nielsen (Den) and Kevita Sehmi (Eng) both took Dubai’s limelight when they were invited to play in this year’s tournament. Unfortunately neither of them made the cut but could only tell me, “how much of an experience it was” and, “to have family and friends out on course, was just awesome.” Hopefully, golf in Dubai continues to support the UAE golfers in providing opportunities like this to give a taste of what professional golf is like to young national talent.

Q It’s that time of year again when the European Tour graduates have been able to put their feet up and enjoy the Christmas break while others have been grinding it out, gearing up towards Asian Tour School in Thailand this month. It’s coming up to a year since it was me going off to Hua Hin, Thailand to give Tour School a go. I didn’t quite make it as most of you know but did come out with my playing rights on the ADT (Asian Development Tour), a feeder tour that has really grown in last year and will only continue to do so year on year as entrant numbers soar. Peter Richardson, a good friend of mine who played on the MENA Tour in 2011, last year secured a top-three finish on the ADT to secure his full playing rights on the Asian Tour this year –congratulations! QIt will be great to see recently turned professional and first UAE pro, Ahmed Al Musharrekh and Mike Harradine – UAE No.1 amateur and Swiss National team member – both competing for their Asian Tour cards this January in Hua Hin, Thailand. I wish you guys the best of luck! I’m quite sad it’s not me going back to Q-School in Asia this year, however my game hasn’t quite been up to scratch, nor am I quite at the level I need to be

in order to give myself the honest chance of making it out there. I see myself based here in Dubai, working on a few things before competing on the MENA Tour again and Euro Pro tour in April 2013. Busy year ahead! QWhilst players battle it out for a card on the Asian circuit, the European Tour is back in full swing again here in the UAE this month, starting in Abu Dhabi – the first of the three of the Desert Swing events (Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, Qatar Masters and Dubai Desert Classic). All the talk is of McIlroy’s brand ambassador change as his deal with golfing giants Titleist/Footjoy expires and his bank account bulges with the big bucks from his new deal with Nike. We’ll see Tiger and McIlroy tee it up this month at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. I’m excited to see what style of equipment Rory has put a swoosh on and won’t be surprised if it looks identical to Tiger’s!

Michelle Wie enjoys time out with a local fan during the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters.




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ross MCgowan

Dubai resident Ross McGowan won the Madrid Masters in 2009 before taking second place behind Lee Westwood in the inaugural Dubai World Championship. He was in the qualifying places for the 2010 Ryder Cup before a wrist injury sustained at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth derailed his season. The injury proved persistent and returned several times, severely affecting his form in 2011 and forcing him out of the game completely for much of last season. Now injury-free, he’s hoping to pick up invites to the Desert Swing events as he bids to regain his European Tour card and get his career back on track. Here Ross talks to Playing Editor Joel Neale about what has been a tough three years as well as his plans for 2013.


AVING won the Madrid Masters in 2009 it was very frustrating not to be able to kick on as I would’ve hoped. I had a good start to 2010 – had beaten Steve Stricker in the WGC-Accenture Match Play, finished in the top 10 at the Volvo China Open, and I think I was fourth or fifth in Ryder Cup Rankings when the initial injury to my right wrist occurred at Wentworth. I was lying in 12th place after two rounds and was playing fairly steadily. Then I hit some roots in the middle of the fairway during the final round and that was what caused the injury. I got it strapped up and had a few months of trying to play through it but ended up having to have cortisone injections. It all spiraled from there. I’d love to have played in The Ryder Cup that year and hopefully I’ll get the chance to play in one or more in the years to come. But it was very frustrating to miss out when I was in such a strong position. The injury never really went away properly and it came back badly in November 2011. I had to sit out until June last year. I played a few Challenge Tour events in 2012 just to see where my game was really and it was a bit strange having played for four years on The European Tour. I think the standard on the Challenge Tour has gone up since I last played on it in 2007 but the quality of the Tour itself has gone down. It wasn’t a very easy transition. I went from The European Tour where you can get to places easily on nice flights with courtesy cars to pick you up, to flying Ryan Air then driving for three hours in a rental car just to find the golf course. You also miss the crowds and the buzz of The European Tour events, that’s what drives you on. It was a bit of a nightmare really. Looking at the Challenge Tour for this year, the first event is in India, which will involve getting to Delhi, then taking a two-hour flight from there followed by a 1.5-5 hour drive depending on the

traffic! Needless to say I won’t be going there. Ca I don’t think I’ll be playing much on the Challenge Tour this year. I’ve got a few different options and opportunities in the pipeline. I’m probably going to go down to South Africa and get my Sunshine Tour card, play a few of the summer events there in February and March. I’ll possibly go to America and play a couple of mini-tours out there and I’m hoping for invites to Abu Dhabi, Qatar and the Desert Classic. That’s quite high on my agenda – they’re all good courses and I enjoy playing them. I’ve got a lot of good friends out here who are very supportive so I get quite a good crowd following me.

MENA Tour I played on the MENA Tour last year and finished fourth in the first event at Dubai Creek and then won the second one at Saadiyat Beach. It was good but they changed the rules halfway through. When I planned my schedule which included going to America to try out at Q-School for the PGA Tour, they had said that you needed to play two events to be eligible for the final. But when I came back from the US I found out they’d changed the rules and you needed to play three events – so that was a bit annoying! But I thought it was a good tour. The courses were excellent, as they are generally in the Middle East – it’s good fun to play on proper golf courses. I think a lot of the courses that the main Tours play on these days aren’t great golf courses. They’re there because that’s where the money is rather than because they’re great golf courses. Saadiyat, where I won, is a fantastic golf course; Dubai Creek has hosted the Desert Classic so that’s obviously a very good course, and I think the MENA Tour are planning to have 10 or 12 events this year so I’ll definitely play at least enough to get into the final this time! Having the Desert Classic spots up for grabs for the top three pros plus

Having the Desert Classic spots up for grabs for the top three pros plus the leading amateur is a great incentive, especially for the youngsters who could get the chance to play their first proper Tour event.

the leading amateur is a great incentive, especially for the youngsters who could get the chance to play their first proper Tour event.

Q-School As I mentioned earlier I decided to try and qualify for this year’s PGA Tour, partly to prepare for the European Tour Q-School, and partly because it suited my schedule, but unfortunately it didn’t happen for me and I went out at the first stage, which was frustrating. I picked a course on the east coast, based on location, so I could get there easier and also get back to Dubai quickly as I thought I’d be playing the MENA Tour final. In retrospect I should have gone earlier and gone further west where the weather was better and the courses a bit firmer and faster. It was a very soft golf course and wide open so it became a bit of a putting competition. We get a bit of Bermuda grass rough out here but it was tough. We were getting quite a lot of flyers out of it especially around the greens. The Americans were taking full swings with lob wedges and having much more success than me trying hit fairly soft flighted running shots. I guess they’re just more used to having to play those kinds of shots. I also missed out on my card at European Q-School so I’m hopeful of getting enough invites on The European Tour early in the season to get some good results under my belt and gain my card that way. I haven't had any trouble from my wrist for the past five months or so and I'm playing fairly well on the whole. There are a few areas I need to improve on – short game is one of them and also consistency off the tee needs to be better. But iron-wise and wedge-wise it's all good so I'm looking forward to the challenge of getting back to where I was before the injury Q




CONTACT: Tel : +66 (32) 616 200 email:


BANYAN WINS PRESTIGIOUS ASIA PACIFIC AWARDS Banyan Golf Club in Hua Hin, Thailand, has received two prestigious awards at the Asia Pacific Golf Conference in Brunei after being voted winner of Best Clubhouse Asia Pacific and first runner-up for Best Course in Thailand. The sixth edition of the Asia Pacific Golf Summit was held at the prestigious Empire Hotel and Country Club in the oil-rich Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam. The conference attracted Asia’s golf industry movers and shakers from course architects, club managers and superintendents, to leaders of professional golf-related associations and authorities. Topics included in the presentations and forums focussed on improving the whole golf playing experience, plus the future development of the game and an effort to create a lasting awareness and an understanding of golf as a sustainable business. Over 60 guest speakers were invited and topics such as the value and impact of professional golf tournaments on golf clubs; whether the shine has gone off the club experience; the growth of golf tourism in Asia and junior development, were just a few of the many subjects discussed.

Best Golf Destination Thailand won the award for Best Golf Destination in Asia which will provide exciting opportunities for the country’s golf clubs, travel agents, tour operators and DMCs to promote golf tourism even further in Thailand. In one session it was emphasised that airlines should drop the extra charge for golfers to take on board their golf clubs while the high taxes on green fees were also a talking point. Of those present at the conference Michael G.

Leemhuis, CEO of Congressional Country Club, USA, explained golf club management trends in the States, including the growth in lady golfers, membership al a carte, additional facilities that are required such as spas, gyms and tennis courts. It was highlighted that clubs need to become recreational places for additional non-golfing activities. Food trends in the States now include lighter, healthier menu items.

Reluctant to Change One of the significant movements in golf management is the use of technology, especially the use of internet, online reservation systems and use of social media. There is a gap emerging between golf industry leaders and those who need to catch up with the times. Some clubs in the region are reluctant to change from their traditional ways and are not actively looking for new and innovative ways to bring the excitement back into the club experience. It was generally accepted that there are clear opportunities for transformational leadership, empowerment, and creativity in developing a quality golf experience. Banyan Golf’s Club recognition at the awards ceremony confirms its position as a market leader in Thailand and Alex Binnekamp, Managing Director of Banyan, commented: “We are absolutely thrilled to be awarded ‘The Best Course in Thailand’ (first runner-up). This is another commendable achievement and I am very proud of our team in winning this award. “Banyan’s golf course is available for everyone to come and play. Guests at our resort and visitors who come to Hua Hin on a golfing holiday should make time to visit and enjoy all of our facilities”.

Stacey Walton, Banyan Golf Club’s Manager added: “I firmly believe Banyan Golf Club is one of the region’s best maintained courses and can be simply described as a masterpiece. “Designed by Pirapon Namatra of Golf East the course has links/parkland characteristics with twists, turns, up-hill, downhill holes challenging every level of golfer. It’s a pleasure to play and I often hear that many of our golfers score well around here”. Further to winning a top award for the golf course, Banyan Golf Club was recognised with its own award and designer Smith Obayawat from the office of Bangkok architects (OBA) commented: “I am very proud that Banyan won Best Clubhouse in Asia Pacific. The iconic Thai-style architecture cannot be found anywhere else in the world. “Its modern and contemporary building has a boutique atmosphere created from a blend of teak, stone, water features and soft furnishings using traditional Thai silks and art. The views from the Terrace restaurant and Mulligan’s Pub are spectacular with the clubhouse facing west towards the Burmese mountains, and the Sunset is outstanding”. Stuart Daly, EAM of Banyan Golf Club, Hua Hin stated: “The Clubhouse has become a popular tourist attraction with more non-golfing visitors coming to enjoy our facilities and fine hospitality. Our social calendar of events include open golf competitions, barbecues, wine dinners or just simply enjoying a nice meal at the Terrace makes this one of the most popular clubs in Thailand”. Visit for the Best courses in Thailand.



CONTACT: Tel : +9714 380 2222 E-mail:


BROEDELET WINS THE HERITAGE TROPHY SANDRA Broedelet found a supreme level of consistency to triumph in the Heritage Trophy held over two rounds at the Faldo and the Majlis courses recently after scores of 39 and 40 gave her a 79-point total and a one-shot


Heritage Trophy champion, Sandra Broedelet receives the Trophy from Lady Captain, Glynis Hendry. victory over Sanchia Oberholster. Oberholster shot rounds of 36 and 42 in the Stableford format to clinch second place while Veronica Elias took third with scores of 33 and 41.

JUNIOR member Matthew Baxter clinched his first BMW Rivoli Monthly Medal last month with a fantastic net 67 over the Faldo course. The youngster has been steadily improving over the past few months and as a result of his superb winning tally of 5-under par over the tricky Faldo layout his handicap is now down to 10.8. Taking second place behind Baxter in Division ‘B’ was Nawaf Fawaz as he lost out on a countback while Robert Underwood sealed third after a level-par 72. The

scoring was slightly higher in Division ‘A’ and it was David Waite who clinched top prize with a net 74 after a countback with Jignesh Sangani. Eddie Hesson, who is a regular for the Scratch Team, carded the best gross of the day with a 76 and his net 75 gave him third spot in Division ‘A’. Faisal Al Sayegh carded a net 73 to win Division ‘C’.


NANDA NARROWLY BEATS NAIR DUBAI Golf recently hosted its first Junior Tournament which is part of the brand new Dubai Golf Junior Series. The event was played on the nine hole Par-3 course at Emirates Golf Club and a strong field of 72 budding golfers competed in near perfect conditions. In the Masters division Dubai Creek’s Kabir Nanda put in a superb performance to beat Dhruv Nair by one shot while Mark Baxter was victorious in the gold division by three shots. EGC member George Erasmus dominated the silver division by six shots and other winners were Annika Shivpuri in the bronze and Juha Leinonen in the cadet divisions respectively. The series comprises eight individual events that will be held at both Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club and Emirates Golf Club. This new initiative by the Dubai


Golf Academy Professionals is to help guide young golfers from the driving range onto the golf course. Over 500 juniors currently participate in weekly lessons at the two clubs as part of the renowned junior development programmes. Stephen Deane, Head Academy Professional at Emirates Golf Club said: “The day was enjoyed by all and it was great to watch the juniors showcasing their skills in a competitive environment, the hard work they have been doing in their weekly lessons has been worth it!” Juniors compete in one of five categories and prizes were awarded for the winners and runners up in each, winning participants also received Order of Merit points that will determine the overall series winner. The weather and course condition added to some fantastic scoring during the event, which was a great start to the Dubai Golf Junior Series.

TONY Hutchinson compiled a haul of 39 points over the Majlis course to win the Club House Trophy by two shots. With the course in superb shape just prior to the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, Hutchinson took full advantage with birdies on holes 4 and 5 to propel him to victory. Dhiren Harchandani and Prem Amarnani both had 37 points, but it was Harchandani who took second place after a countback leaving Amarnani to take third place in the popular event.

Champion Tony Hutchinson receives the trophy from Membership manager Kate Philips. In Division ‘A’ Arun Khehar topped the pile with a haul of 37 points, one clear of Lionel Smith while in Division ‘B’ Ed Hesson took the spoils with a two-point win over Mike Pearce following a 37.

6TH HOLE, FALDO COURSE TOP TIP Alastair Brown , PGA Golf Professional A demanding dogleg par 4 which turns right to left and normally plays into the wind. Aim between the left bunkers and the lone tree for your tee shot. Take an extra club for your second shot as it is uphill. Getting the ball on the correct tier of the green is crucial to making par.




CONTACT: Tel : +971 4 295 6000 E-mail:


Winner Berthe Reinke and Dubai Ceek Lady Captain Mego Hann.

Ara Nakhnikian (Dubai Creek Captain), winners Alan and Soumaya Salem and David Stevenson (General Manager, Prosports International – Event Sponsor).

SALEMS SEAL THE CAPTAIN’S DAY OVER 100 players turned out to compete and celebrate the year of Club Captains Ara Nakhnikian and Mego Han recently and coming out on top after an exciting day’s play were Alan and Soumaya Salem as they won a three-way countback. Two other pairs were locked on 6-under 65 but thanks to their outstanding back nine of 4-under 32 the Salem’s were crowned the rightful

champions. Dave Gowans and Joy Lirio took the runner-up place over Mark McCarthy and Ray Downes with their 3-under par back nine compared to McCarthy and Downes’s 2-under par. “It was a great day out, we couldn’t have asked for a better day – sun mixed with clouds and wind, enough breeze to challenge our golf skills on various into the wind holes and a great course condition with smooth and fast

greens,” said the pair after collecting their trophies. “We had to finish in style on the last six holes with birdie, birdie, par, birdie, birdie, par to get into the running. “We would like to express our gratitude to the Creek Golf club for hosting such great event, Captain Ara Nakhnikian for organising a wonderful competition and Prosports for sponsoring the day.”

SFEILA SHOOTS LOW IN SOFT CONDITIONS WITH heavy rain falling the previous day it had looked like the December Medal would not go ahead but luckily the course drained extremely well and Rabih Sfeila took advantage of the softer conditions to win with a superb net 69. Sfeila finished strongly and managed to beat Mark Irwin on a countback over the last six holes and Mansour Khodjasteh over the back nine. Irwin took top spoils in Men’s Division ‘A’ with a 2-under par net 69 whilst Dave Gowans had a solid inward half to take the runner-up spot with a 1-under par net 70. The Men’s Division ‘B’ was a close battle and it was Mansour Khodjasteh who came out on top with a superb net 69, one ahead of Praveen Kalia.

Alan Mackenzie (Director of Golf, Dubai Creek), Rabi Sfeila (Winner), Mego Han (Ladies Captain, Dubai Creek) and Stephen Hubner (Head Golf Professional, Dubai Creek). Ladies Captain Mego Han was back to winning ways in the Ladies Division as she finished with a net 70 and defeated Vanessa North thanks to a better inward half. Hrithik Khurana put in a superb performance to win the Junior Division with his 6-under par net 65 while Paul King took the overall gross prize with a 74 ahead of Jay Varkey and Miki Mirza.

SPIRITS HIGH DURING THE LADIES CHRISTMAS STROKE PLAY CHRISTMAS came early for Lady Captain Mego Han as she took first place in the Ladies Christmas Scramble with a countback victory over Yumiko Inoue after both had signed for net 69s while Nadia Matveeva finished third with a solid net 71. “I am very happy to win today and this win is a great way to start my Christmas holiday,” smiled Han. “I would like to thank all of the ladies for participating today and I would also like to say a big thank you to all of the staff at the Creek for their hard work throughout the year with all of our ladies events.” Chikako Inoue took the Longest Drive prize with a fantastic shot on the 12th while Laura Pagella followed suit with a great shot on hole 4 to take the other Longest Drive prize on offer. G.A Cho and Paula Savage won the Nearest the Pin prizes on holes 5 and 16 respectively.

Top Tip Hole 17 George Kasparis , Senior PGA Golf Professional Choose the club that will position you short of the well placed fairway bunkers. From here, I would always favour the right side of the green to give me the best chance of a safe par. Take the four, and brace yourself for the 18th!



CONTACT: Tel : +971 4 375 999


GELASINI SAVES HIS BEST FOR LAST LOW SCORES IN EARTH’S ULTIMATE CHALLENGE 2012 RYAN Perkins scored 34 Stableford points from the DP World Tour Championship tees to win Earth’s Ultimate Challenge, shortly after Rory McIlroy sealed the European Tour’s season-ending event over the Greg Norman-designed layout.

From the Tournament Tees Shankar Majrekar won with 33 points while Andrew Watson won from the Signature Tees with 31 points and Sun Le Rim won from the Forward Tees with 28 points.

GIORDANO Gelasini was crowned the Champion of Champions at Jumeirah Golf Estates recently after winning the Rivoli Members Monthly Medal Finals last month. The invited field comprised of all the 2012 Medal winners and Gelasini came out on top thanks to his excellent 2-under-par 70. In Division ‘A’ Chris Wilmot secured the top spot as he recorded a gross

73 for a net 72 and a two-stroke win over Nigel Pinto with Bilbo Perrot third. Lars Neilsen stole the show in Division ‘B’ with a net 72, while Suad Ghalib won the Ladies Division with a net 75, one clear of Michelle Walsh. The Nearest the Pin prizes were won by Nigel Pinto, Dead Stothard and Michelle Walsh on holes 17, 6 and 13 respectively.

SUPERB SCORING IN RACE TO DUBAI SHAMBLE THE first member’s tournament after Jumeirah Golf Estates hosted the 2012 DP World Tour Championship, Dubai was the Prosports sponsored Members and Guests Day Race to Dubai Shamble and following a superb morning of golf over the Earth Course the winning team with a net 122 was Peter Bauer, Anne Bauer, Galina Wherret and Carl Wherret.


A countback was needed to separate second and third place and finishing runner-up was the team of Paul Sackley, Travis Cowgill, Simon Howells with Guest Dave Grannel with the team of Jenhanzeb Awan, Nadir Mohammadi, Ayaz Afridi and Shankar Majrekar taking third place. Michelle Walsh and Jayne Washbourne took the Nearest the Pin prizes on holes 6 and 17 respectively.

6TH HOLE TOP TIP Golf Operations Supervisor - PGA A fantastic but precise par 3. This iconic island hole requires specific club selection off any of the four teeing grounds available. Wind from any direction will make this very difficult with the tight island green surrounded by a selection of bunkers offering the green the maximum protection. If you’re lucky a stray shoot will only find the bunkers, further misdirection will leave you wet for sure.



CONTACT: Tel : +971 4 381 3733 E-mail:



THE Track has joined forces with the Emirates Golf Federation (EGF) to put golf on the curriculum at a local school. Emirati pupils aged from nine to 11 from the Rashid School for Boys are being given lessons by Emirates Golf Federation head coach, Jason

Froggatt, and The Track’s golf professional, Will Bruce. The one-hour long sessions take place each week at The Track’s tuition facility, Academy by Troon, which is located at the course and the youngsters learn about everything from health and fitness

to the golf swing and etiquette. Darwish Al Qubaisi, Board Member at the Emirates Golf Federation, said: “It is crucial that we as a federation do everything we can to give young people the opportunity to play this fantastic sport. “Ahmed Al Musharrekh has recently become the first Emirati to turn professional but the work does not stop there. “Facilities like The Track, which are open and accessible to all, are the perfect environment in which to develop and grow interest in the game among the local population – for whom the game is still relatively new. “We want Emiratis on the professional tour and that work starts with initiatives like this.” Dean Winders, Head of PE at the Rashid School for Boys said: “We are

delighted to work with The Track and Emirates Golf Federation in offering golf to our boys here at Rashid. “Being able to bring them to a real course where they can really understand the sport is a great experience for them. “The sport teaches so much about discipline and fair play, which are exactly the type or principles we instill in all our pupils.”

“With views across the Dubai skyline and the fairways and greens in the best condition they have ever been we cannot wait to welcome the first night golfers.” With no membership fees and an easy online booking system, The

Track has earned a reputation as the most accessible golf course in the country. Professionals at the club’s floodlit tuition facility, Academy by Troon, teach players of all abilities and are also involved in a series of local community initiatives.

THE TRACK LAUNCHES NIGHT GOLF – STARTING AT 295 AED THE lights are on at The Track – opening up night golf to the thousands of players across the UAE. Every evening at 6pm the floodlights are turned on across the spectacular course, which is located at Meydan in Dubai. Players can book tee times until 8pm with play allowed until 10pm which makes it perfect for after-work golf and late night weekend rounds. Prices in the new year start at 295

AED and staff have been working throughout the night in recent weeks to test the floodlight system and make sure conditions are ideal. General Manager, Paul Dennis, said: “There has been a huge amount of anticipation of night golf coming to Meydan, testing is finished and we are confident players will love the challenge of taking on The Track under the floodlights.





CONTACT: Tel : +971 4 366 3000 E-mail:



RANCHES ANNOUNCE A JUNIOR INVITATIONAL AS part of a continued dedication towards Junior Golf development, Arabian Ranches Golf Club have scheduled a Junior Invitational which will be held on the Par-3 course on January 4th, 2013. There will be 48 children representing the following golf clubs/coaching programmes:

Arabian Ranches, The Montgomerie, Dubai Creek, Emirates, Al Badia, Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club, Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club, Grass Roots Golf. The children playing in each team will be a mixture of advanced beginner, intermediate, and elite levels.

RANIA Hage and Steve Bennett found themselves on the winner’s podium in the Speed Cleaning & Marble Renewal Golf Day last month after they combined to score 75 points to win by one from Adrienne Fullerton and Mark Evans. The format was Individual Stableford with the main event being a two-player combined Stableford with partners being selected by virtue of a blind draw while the players were out on the course. None of the players were aware of whom their partner was going to be and it added an exciting element to the game. Bennett posted 41 points the best individual score on the day and found himself drawn with Hage


who had a solid round and scored 34 points. Finishing third in the team event was Emma Rooms and JC Hut whose two scores combined to make 71. The prize giving was conducted by Terry Vaughan Vice Club Captain. Results 3rd Team Emma Rooms & JC Hut 71 points 2nd Team Adrienne Fullerton & Mark Evans 74 points 1st Team Steve Bennett & Rania Hage 75 points

CONTACT: Tel : +971 4 425 1010 E-mail:


ELS CLUB HOSTS RYDER CUP-STYLE EVENT FOR VICTORY HEIGHTS THE Els Club, in conjunction with Victory Heights at Dubai Sports City, hosted its very own Ryder Cup-style contest for the Victory Heights community and just like last year’s monumental event in Chicago it turned out to be a thriller. The Dubai event, which was open to all Victory Heights residents, eventually saw two teams – Team Estella and The rest of the Community – earn their places in an epic two-day battle following a series of qualifying rounds. With both teams in fine fettle the two-day finale, which was played in a Ryder Cup format of fourballs and foursomes on day one followed by singles, ended in a tie.

Chris Brown, the General Manager of The Els Club, said: “This golf event for members and residents from Victory Heights is a great initiative and The Els Club is delighted we have been able to host it and also support it. “The Els Club has always seen itself as a hub for the Victory Heights community and this event has given us the opportunity to showcase our fantastic facilities in our newly-opened Clubhouse. “Our expectation is to make this a regular event and to give other communities the opportunity to stage similar events in the future.” Yasser Abdulrahman Al Raee, the General Manager of Victory Heights, said: “The Ryder Cup-style

Chris Brown, General Manager, The Els Club, Kuttan Malattiri, Team Captain – Rest of the Community, Yasser Abdulrahman Al Raee, General Manager, Victory Heights, Gerhardt Pretorius, Team Captain – Team Estella and Callum Nicoll, Operations Manager, The Els Club.

event has been a great way to bring people from all over Victory Heights together in a fun way. “For residents to have facilities

like The Els Club and its Clubhouse on their doorsteps is fantastic and an illustration of what a great place Victory Heights is to live.”




NO CHANGE AT THE TOP OF PIC AND BMW LEAGUES THERE was not a lot of positional change after the third round of the 2012/13 PIC Golf Society League in the PIC and BMW leagues. Emirates Pilots Club remain top of the PIC League with 18 points after two wins over Mott MacDonald and this came despite 21 handicapper Derek Murray scoring a hole-in-one on the 12th for a Mott MacDonald pair. Mott MacDonald remain in fifth place. The Emirates Golf Society and Sport 360 are still tied for second position in the league after playing each other and winning one match each. The dynamic duo of Paul Nightingale and Stephen Holl of PIC League E.P.C. Emirates Golf Society Sport 360 D.I.G.S. Mott MacDonald Etihad Golf Society

Emirates Golf Society had Mark Dupree and Ian Plant of Sport 360 in a spin with a convincing win of 7&6 but that result was evened out by the other Sport 360 pair to leave them tied in second on 12 points. Dubai Irish Golf Society stay in fourth place despite gaining six points over the lowly Etihad Golf Society, who remain bottom of the league. Al Naboodah increased their lead at the top of the BMW League with 16 points, having won both of their matches against The ‘Ackerdemicals while the Sharjah Golfing Buddies remain second with 13 points, following two convincing wins of






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5&4 and 5&3 over Dubai Divots. Darjeeling leapfrog the Divots to third position having enjoyed two BMW League Al Naboodah Sharjah Golfing Buddies Darjeeling Dubai Divots The ‘Ackerdemicals Sultans of Swing

wins over Sultans of Swing, who are still trailing at the bottom of the league with just three points.






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TOP SPOTS RETAINED IN BOTH WORLDWIDE GOLF & SNTTA TRAVEL LEAGUES IN the third round of fixtures the lead in both the Worldwide Golf and SNTTA Travel leagues didn’t change hands. The MasSin 1 still sit atop the WWG league while newcomers Indian ExPats GS remain top of the SNTTA Travel league. Both teams won one and lost one fixture against their opponents with MasSin 1 tying with KEGS 1 and Indian ExPats tying with the Nepalese Golf Society but both still lead the way in their leagues with 13 points.

MasSin 1 leads the way in the SNTTA Travel League ahead of Gulf Rock and the Dubai ExPutts 1 while in the WWG League the Indian Expats lead from RimauSinga. Gulf Rock had a great week beating Dubai Duffers in both of their matches. A win and a loss for KEGS 1 against MasSin 1 means that they are no longer in the bottom spot while the Dubai ExPutts 1 won both of their matches against Dubai ExPutts 2.

Second in the Worldwide Golf League (led by the Indian Expat Golf Society) are RimauSinga with 12 points after they managed one win

and one loss against MasSin 2 while KEGS 2 remain in the bottom spot with five points despite one win and one draw against Dubal Golf Society.

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Worldwide Golf League






MasSin Golf Society 1 Gulf Rock Dubai ExPutts 1 Dubai Duffers K.E.G.S. 1 Dubai ExPutts 2

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13 12 9 7 6 5



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ANDREWS TAKES SPORT 360 MEN’S OPEN HONOURS ANDY Andrews of Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club won the fifth edition of the Sport 360 Men’s Open Golf Championship recently after he returned scores of 74 and 75 to beat Dubai Creek’s Paul King by two shots. Andrews returned the day’s best front nine of 36 to hold a two-shot advantage over playing partner King at the turn. This slender lead remained until the 17th when a crucial birdie by Andrews against a bogey from King gave him a four-shot lead playing the final hole. As it turned out Andrews needed that cushion as he took four attempts to get down from the side

of the green for a double bogey six as King made a steady par to reduce the deficit to two again. Craig Forrest (JGE) took third place with Scotsman Gary Swan (ARGC) finishing fourth. Defending champion Michael Harradine (JAGRS) struggled to find his best form as the injured Swiss faltered to a tournament worst score and finish of 79 and fifth place. Overnight leader Hassan Yazdi (SGSC) settled himself down after two opening double bogeys to stay in the hunt until the 14th but a bogey, double bogey, par finish dropped him out of contention but he still finished a respectable tie for sixth place.

Andy Andrews (front centre) with SGSC Golf Club Men’s Captain Mel Stewart and all the weekend’s other prize winners.

Winner Moiz Khan with his trophy.



THE final Team for the NMT Battle of the Continents Golf Series was completed last month as eight players confirmed their places in Captain Ramli Suliaman’s Asian team. The eight qualifiers, and captain Suliaman, will compete over Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club’s championship course on January 5th against teams representing Africa and the Middle East, Europe and America’s and Australasia. In the final, four players from each continent will be pooled together and play gross or net match play Stableford with the leading score from each group receiving four

ON a morning when the UAE saw its yearly torrential downpour the Orient Travel-Thai Airways Monthly Medal had to be reduced to nine holes for safety reasons. However, it didn’t affect morale as virtually all 30 competitors of them battling the horrific conditions to finish their rounds. Leading the way and winning the third edition on the winter calendar was Abdul Moiz Khan as came in with a well fought 2-under score of net 34 which gave him a two-stroke win over Nathan Fisher. Third spot was a close affair

points for their continent and the fourth placed receiving just one point. The representatives for the Asian team are as follows: Sunny Ramadas, Irfan Naseer, Adi Husaini, Haneef Rabbani, K.J Lee, S.W Kang, Zubair Bin Idris and Sanjoy Das. At the presentation Asia Captain Ramli Suliaman thanked every entrant and wished his Asian compatriots the very best of luck in the January final. Suliaman also heaped significant gratitude upon sponsor NMT Global Projects whose support has made such a unique and exciting event possible.

but taking the spoils was young pretender Zubair Bin idris as he scored a net 37 and saw off B.J Kim and Tolani Thakur on a scorecard play-off. The best gross on the day went to Charlie Wilcox as he returned a gutsy 41 over the nine holes. After three rounds Korean golfer B.J Kim still leads the net Order Of Merit by over 20 points from Hassan Yazdi, and Yazdi himself is just about managing to hold onto first position in the gross section with George Liu and a number of others hot on his heels in what is shaping up to be a very interesting contest.




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COMFORTABLE VICTORIES FOR LINDH AND FISHER IN NATIONAL DAY OPEN DEREK Fisher and Oscar Lindh took the top prizes in the National Day Open with comfortable wins in their respective Net and Gross Divisions. As the UAE celebrated its 41st birthday the two clubs of Ras Al Khaimah – Tower Links and Al Hamra Golf Club – combined together for the second year running to host a two-day National Day Open event. Unusually the players were met

with an incessant downpour of rain on day one at Tower Links and as a result only two players broke par. However, on day two at Al Hamra the scoring was understandably better thanks to the blissful blue skies and calmer conditions. Standing at the top of the pile in the Net Division thanks to rounds of 73 and 69 was Derek Fisher as his winning total of 142 gave him a three-shot victory over Dave

85 and 78 to win by two ahead of fellow Al Hamra member Dewald Lubbe with Alistair Purves taking third on a countback.



VIJAYESH Haridas Nair won the net honours in the fifth staging of the RAK Junior Open recently with Eoin Cunniffe taking the spoils in the gross section. Haridas Nair shot an incredible 9-under-par 63 thanks to nines of 37 and 26 to win by one ahead of Matthew Laven and Rishi Nair who settles for second and third place respectively. Cunniffe carded a fine level par 72 thanks to nines of 39 and

SIMON Williams picked up the November Monthly Medal to increase his lead at the top of the Order of Merit thanks to nines of 40 and 38 for a 78 which gave him a three-stroke win over Steve Rayment. Husam Al Sayed put together a superb round of 69 to win the Net Division and kickstart his season with maximum Order of Merit points. Ma Li Min was runner-up

33 to win ahead of Innan Budhiraja and Ronan Hall in a card play-off with neither player matching Cunniffe’s superior back nine. Budhiraja took second place with Hall settling for third.



MCCALLUM AND LATHAM TRIUMPH IN RAK PROPERTIES CUP THE Inaugural RAK Properties Cup saw entries fly in from all over the Emirate and beyond and it was visiting player Liam McCallum, a resident of Dubai, and Graham Latham, a long time member of Tower Links, that walked away with the spoils. McCallum triumphed in Division ‘A’ with a countback win over Martin Hunt after both players compiled an excellent 36 Stableford point haul while Joe Wivou finished third, just


Hoggins. Back in third place was Cliff Macdonald who followed a superb 67 with an 82 for a 149. Lindh carded gross rounds of

one point further back. Latham had been putting in some steady performances prior to this event and he got his just reward as he took the spoils in Division B with 30 points and a countback win over Richie Chapman and S.P Hong. Sunimal Fernando won the Nearest the Pin prizes on holes 4 and 8 while the same prizes on holes 12 and 16 were won by Joe Wivou and Fiyaz Ahmed respectively.

and she sits at the top of the net Order of Merit after her win in the October Medal.

CONTACT: Tel : +971 7 227 939 Email:



CONTACT: Tel : +971 2 575 5044 E-mail:


Club Captain Rupert Evans is pictured with winner Walter Tiamfook.


Left to right: Henrik Stenson (third from right) is pictured with the winners, sponsors, and Captain Rupert Evans (far left).

HENRIK STENSON POPS IN FOR A VISIT EUROPEAN Tour star Henrik Stenson was a surprise guest last month and was on hand to give out the prizes to the winners of the Ballentine’s Eclectic. The Swedish former Dubai resident was told of the unique sand course by close friends and he said he just

had to try it out. “It was a great pleasure to welcome Henrik to our special course,” said Captain Rupert Evans, “and for Henrik to kindly agree to stay and present the Ballentine’s prizes with Adam Pomeroy (GMP sponsor) was an even greater pleasure and surprise for the

members of Al Ghazal Golf Club!” The Ballentine’s Eclectic is a running strokeplay event played over the season with the grand finale being played in April 2013. The December Ladies and Men’s winners were Morag Pester and Ken Ritzal with net 60 and 71 respectively.


IN celebration of the UAE National Day the annual Independence Trophy took place over 36 holes and coming out on top was Walter Tiamfook as he shot rounds of 71 and 67 for a 138 total. Vernon Whaanga shot an opening 67 but then shot a 72 to lose out to Tiamfook by just one stroke while third place went to Maruis Oliver on 141. The best overall gross performance after two rounds was by Ken Ritzal as he totalled 170. Emily Gordon won the Ladies Division with a 158 total, two clear of Ming Brown who in turn beat Morag Pester on a countback.

CONTACT: Tel : +971 4 390 5600



10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS TOGETHER with the members and course designer Colin Montgomerie, The Montgomerie, Dubai celebrated their 10-year anniversary on November 21st last year. A special tournament was held and winning on the day were Annie Browne and Nick Hymas as they accumulated 47 points to win by four from Gi Chun Kang and Ji Won Bae

with third place going to Malcolm and Jane Gray. Unfortunately no-one was lucky enough to win a new car sponsored by AGMC BMW as a hole-in-one prize. Followed by a cheerful gala dinner, Colin Montgomerie said some words to the members of the club and handed over the prizes to the lucky winners.

SANA Tufail successfully defended her Ladies Open title with a gross 71 which included four birdies. Nasha Sarkari took second place with a countback over Kim Chiang while Ji Won Bae took home the net division title with Laura Richardson finishing second and Ok Young Cho finishing in a close third.

SUPERB SCORING IN ECCO MEDAL NARESH Bhambhaney returned a net 70 to win Division ‘A’ of the recent Ecco Medal by one stroke from Mike Roberts with Joon Eun finishing third. In the Men’s Division ‘B’ Gavin Brannan took the spoils with a countback win over John Aslett with both players scoring a 64 while Samantha Harwood romped to a nine-stroke win in the Ladies Division after signing for a net 70.


CONTACT: CONTACT: Tel 5588000 8990 Tel::+971 +97142 2 557


Saadiyat Beach Golf Club

SAADIYAT BEACH GOLF CLUB UNVEILS NEW LOOK GOLF ACADEMY FOR 2013 THE Saadiyat Beach Golf Club Academy has welcomed two new golf professionals to the teaching team this year as Danny Jakubowski and Martin Robinson join the ranks. Both bring a wealth of experience to the renowned Academy to kick start 2013 with a bang at the Troon Golf managed club. Jakubowski takes on the role as Group Director of Instruction for both Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and Abu Dhabi Golf Club and he hopes to supplement the already

comprehensive coaching programmes, bringing his enthusiasm and energy to the Gulf’s first beachfront course. “I want to bring some of the ideas I developed at Abu Dhabi Golf Club across to Saadiyat to offer our students a diverse range of coaching options and programmes,” he said. “I’m looking forward to joining an outstanding team of international talent to continue delivering the standard of service Troon is world-famous for.” Robinson joins as a Senior Instructor and Manager. A NLP

Master Practitioner, he also joins from Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he successfully developed the Institute’s “Trained Brain” package which tackled the mental game of golf. “One area I’m keen to develop at the Academy is the neuro-linguistic

programming coaching, which was hugely successful at Abu Dhabi Golf Club,” he said. “I’m going to really enjoy applying my insights and expertise in a new environment as part of a worldclass coaching team.”

TROON GOLF ABU DHABI’S SUPERINTENDENT PROMOTED ANDREW Whittaker has a busy few months ahead of him as he has been appointed to Group Director of Agronomy at both Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and Abu Dhabi Golf Club, home to the upcoming Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Troon Golf Abu Dhabi’s latest promotion will see Andrew manage two of the capital’s finest Championship courses and he’s looking forward to utilising his skills at Saadiyat Beach after four years at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. “One of my career highlights has been working on the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship for the last four years,” said Whittaker. “So much time, effort and planning goes into these events to make them the successes that they are.”


His promotion to cover Saadiyat Beach Golf Club’s course will see him work closely to protect a variety of wildlife species that is unique to the course, with more than 20 gazelles grazing in its natural sand dunes and native grasses. “The gazelles are a major feature at the golf club who use it as a natural habitat as it is perfect in the native rough for their wellbeing,” he said. “We make additional efforts to ensure that we do not interfere with their habitats and look to provide shade by planting works. Both golf courses are members of the Audobon and Epar organisations and we follow strict guidelines to ensure we comply with their wildlife programs and protection of the environment.”




ABU DHABI GOLF CLUB WINS PRESTIGIOUS AWARD ABU Dhabi Golf Club added another trophy to its collection after being awarded the Best Course in the Middle East accolade at the coveted Asia Pacific Annual Golf Awards The club also finished second runner up for Best Championship Course in Asia Pacific while Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, another Troon-managed venue, was named first runner up for Best Pro Shop in Asia Pacific, capping off a memorable night for two of Abu Dhabi’s flagship properties. Group General Manager at Abu Dhabi Golf Club and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Chris Card (pictured) said: “Winning Best Course in the Middle East is a fantastic achievement against such strong competition and is

testament to the team’s commitment to maintain Abu Dhabi Golf Club’s reputation as one of the most luxurious golf resort experiences in the Middle East. Across the board, the three awards speak to Abu Dhabi’s pledge to grow tourism in the region through world-class leisure facilities, and we are delighted to receive the recognition.” The latest accolades are an addition to an impressive tally of awards garnered by the unrivalled golf resorts, including Abu Dhabi Golf Club heralded as IAGTO’s Golf Destination of the Year 2011 (Africa & Gulf States), Middle East Golfer’s Best Improved Facility award 2011 and Golf Journal Travel Award’s Newcomer Destination of the Year 2011.

NICOLL WINS ABU DHABI HSBC GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP TYSONS AND HWANGS CROWNED SPOT NATIONAL DAY CHAMPIONS BOTH Abu Dhabi Golf Club and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club hosted a National Day Open – Beat the Pros event in celebration of the 41st National Day of the UAE over the weekend of December 2nd. For the second year running it was held over two days across both the Troon-managed clubs, with the first day’s round being played at Abu Dhabi Golf Club under a shamble format and the second day’s round being played at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club as a betterball format. The challenge set was to beat the professionals Mark Chapleski, Chris Card, Paul Booth and Scott McCaw. Fifteen teams took to the tee on day one at Abu Dhabi Golf Club and in perfect scoring conditions, Charles Parks, Chris Ross, John Albertson and Al Human won the prize for Day One Best Team with a score of 91points.

The following day saw more challenging conditions and it was the team of Hany Abdelnour, Fariz Al Azzawi, Musa Abu Hijleh and Belal Belaid who pulled together to win with 78 points. Prizes went to the top four overall teams after both of their scores were added together and taking home the spoils with a score of 182 points and claiming 50,000 Etihad air miles in the team event were Andrew and Lina Tyson and Sung and Suk Jin Hwang, three points clear of Brett Beech, Ron Littleton, Chris Elms and Keir McCartney. Third place, with 178 points, went to Zoyeb Mohammed, Burhan Mohammed, Abizher Mohammed and Shrinivasan Satyamurthi while finishing fourth on 164 were Sami Ghandour, Samer Halawa, Fawaz Homoud and Fares Homoud.

CALLUM Nicoll, club professional at the Els Club, has clinched the coveted qualifier spot at the 2013 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship later this month. In perfect conditions, the 30-year-old Nicoll shot a superb 71 – including two birdies in the last five holes – to edge out 34 other professional hopefuls from domestic golf clubs and earn his place in the field alongside four of the world’s top ten at Abu Dhabi Golf Club from January 17-20.

While it is unlikely Nicoll will appear in the same groupings as superstars Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Justin Rose or America’s Jason Dufner, the Scotsman, whose only other European Tour outing came in last year’s Dubai Desert Classic, insisted he will relish competing against the giants of golf. “I’ll treat the tournament like any other I play,” said Nicoll. “I’m grateful for the chance to qualify – it’s an amazing prize to play for and Abu Dhabi always attracts a strong field.”

Top Tip Hole 17 Martin Robinson, Golf Institute Instructor and NLP Master Practitioner Hole 17 is an imposing hole on the finishing stretch with water a threat from the tee. The key to both the intimidating tee shot and the tough approach is to pick a clear target and keep your hands and arms relaxed which will help you to swing with freedom.




CONTACT: Tel : +971 2 810 7777 E-mail:


TUFAIL SUCCESSFULLY DEFENDS THE CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP SANA Tufail stormed to victory in the Yas Links Club Championship last month after a superb two-day performance in difficult conditions. Tufail took the lead on day one with a gross 74 and on day two, which witnessed some heavy downpours, she carded a stunning 71 to win with a 145 total. The Men’s Club Championship came down to the final hole with Sami Hajri and defending champion Rob Alter in a battle for the spoils. Hajri had a two-stroke lead over

Alter as they teed off on the 18th but struggled to close out the victory. Alter found himself with a putt for a two shot swing to force a play-off but it narrowly missed leaving a relieved Hajri with a one-stroke victory. Finishing third in the Men’s category was Roman Hawczak two shots back while Sharon Hall finished runner-up to Tufail in the Ladies category with Grace Groves in third. Uli Kessler and David Bonn won the respective Net winners with Elizabeth Campell and Ronald Herman finishing second. Sana Tufail and Sami Hajri, Club Championship Winners.

TUFAIL SUCCESSFULLY DEFENDS THE CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP SANA Tufail continued to dominate the Ladies events at Yas Links as she set a new course record on her way to winning the Ladies Open last month. Tufail shot a superb gross 5-under 67 to destroy the field and rightfully retain her title. Second place went to up-and-coming junior Kim Chaiang with an 82. Sharon Hall shot an impressive net 70 to win the Net title, one clear of Anastasia Bakal. Tufail winners of Ladies Open.

Sharon Hall, Ladies Open Net Winner, with Yas Links General Manager, Chris White.

TAYLOR AND DAINTRY SEAL THE DECEMBER STABLEFORD PATRIK Dainty won Division ‘A’ in last month’s Etihad Open Stableford with a countback win over Andrew Morris after both players scored 41 points with Alex Barclay third on 38. In Division ‘B’ Randolph Taylor shot the round of his life as he eased to victory with a huge 47-point haul, eight clear of John Norton in second with Andrew Kenning third with 38. Patrik Daintry celebrates his win.


Randolph Taylor, Division B winner of the Etihad Open Stableford.



CONTACT: Tel : +971 3 702 6400 E-mail:

Golfin Alain

Top Tip Hole 18 – Par 5, 574 Yards By Head Golf Professional Gavin Chappell

CUNNIFFE KEEPS UP HIS GOOD FORM EOIN Cunniffe continued his fine form with a superb 1-under 70 for a net 68 and a one-stroke win over Wayne Turner in Division ‘A’ of the recent Monthly Medal with Heinrich Van Niekerk taking third place. In Division ‘B’ Daniel Hockings shot a gross 78 for a net 63 to win by one from Eschelle Knoesen with Harry Van Wyk finishing third on net 65 while in

Division ‘C’ Duncan Murphy took the spoils with a 65 clear of Ann Kritzinger and Paul Ashford who took second and third respectively.

The big hitters need a long, straight drive to have any chance of reaching in two. Most players will need to hit an accurate lay-up shot down the left side of the fairway to avoid several bunkers that lie in wait for a misplaced shot. Once in position, an accurate approach to the large green is needed as run off areas either side are ready to take your ball away from the pin and leave a tricky up-and-down.


CONTACT: Tel : +966 1 812 6671 E-mail:

Khaled Abunayyan, president of Saudi Golf Federation and Owner of Dirab Golf Course, Saudi Oger Ltd (right) and Vice Chairman Sheikh Ouday Al Shaikh (left) present Nasser Yacoub with the trophy.

YACOUB RETAINS THE SAUDI OGER AMATEUR OPEN NASSER Yacoub reminded everyone he has plenty of life left in him at 50 as he successfully defended his title in the fourth edition of the Saudi Oger Amateur Golf Championship. On an overcast and windless day Yacoub closed with a 3-over 75 to follow his 1-under 71 for a two-day winning total of 146. Taking second place was another Bahraini, Khaled S. Al Aathem, as he added a 76 to a first round score of 77 for a 153 total while one stroke

back in third place was Saudi national team player Abdulrahman Almansour, who totalled 154. Rounding out the first five winners were Mohammed Alnami (156) and Morgan Mead (157). In the Net prizes Rana Irfan Mahmood took the spoils with a 144 total following rounds of 74 and 70 with Dr. Hanfi second on 145 and Richard Salisbury third after losing out to Hanfi on a countback.

Hole 15, Par 5, 605 Yards Out of bounds runs down the entire right hand side of this dog-leg par-5 so take two easy swings to keep the ball in play. The hole plays longer into the wind and if you try and hit it harder than usual and go off-line it will cost you dearly. Play it as a three-shot par-5 if you do not feel you have the length to go for it easily in two shots.




CONTACT: Tel : +968 245 14080 E-mail:


RYDER CUP STAR SERGIO GARCIA TAKES TIME OUT TO PLAY MUSCAT HILLS EUROPEAN Tour Professional Sergio Garcia played a round of golf at Muscat Hills Golf & Country Club during his personal visit to Muscat recently. The Spanish Ryder Cup star, who made the visit following the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, where he finished tied ninth after shooting rounds of 73-64-73-64 for a 14-under-par total, said: “I enjoyed Muscat Hills – it is a fun course, not the longest, but I definitely enjoyed it. Some of the views are very, very nice. I think the par-5, 16th is a great hole and there are a couple of holes on the front nine which are quite good. The par-3, 12th hole is very nice one.” Garcia was invited to play at Muscat Hills by the local amateur

golfer Wakar Ghulam before he headed for the Far East where he won the Johor Open after a stunning final round of 61. HE, the Minister of Oil and Gas Mohammed Al Rumhy and HE Hamood Al Marouqi joined the 32-year-old and Wakar during the friendly 18-hole round. Garcia commented on the importance junior golf development in the region: “His Excellency was telling us that there are already around 300 members in the Junior Programme. That is the way to start developing golf in Oman. You need to make sure the juniors enjoy the game and they are intrigued.” During the day Garcia showed his class by spending time with many visitors and members signing autographs and having pictures taken.

KIRK AND NEWELL COME UP TRUMPS MARK Kirk and Dave Newell returned an excellent 44 points to win the annual Members Day Trophy. Over 70 members of the club paired up to compete for the eagerly anticipated event which was played over 18 holes in a betterball Stableford format as Kirk and Newell dovetailed beautifully to win the coveted trophy. Taking second place was Jo and Bob Broomhead who scored 43 while in third place was the duo of Anne and Alan Parker with 41 points. The Members Day Trophy was inaugurated by H.H. Rawy Al Said bin Kais in November last year, when His

Highness opened up the new practice facilities at Muscat Hills – a practice putting green and a new floodlit Driving range. One year on Muscat Hills has gone from strength to strength growing its membership to over 270 golf members and adding new facilities to the world-class golf club. Additional to the 18-hole green golf course, the club offers a brand new State-of-the-Art Golf Academy, featuring cutting-edge technologies like V1 System for swing video analysis and Flightscope technology, new academy putt and pitch area, cozy clubhouse terrace, new fleet of golf carts, etc.

HE Mohammed Al Rumhy, Sergio Garcia, HE Hamood Al Marouqi and Wakar Ghulam on the first tee.



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ALMOUJ GOLF CELEBRATES ITS FIRST BIRTHDAY HAVING initially opened its doors almost 12 months ago to the day Almouj Golf celebrated its First Birthday with a Members Scramble at the end of November. The Scramble format allows teams of three to compete by selecting the best tee shot on each hole and then all team members play the next

shot from the chosen position, this continues until the hole is completed. To ensure that everyone was involved it was necessary for each member of the team to contribute 4 tee shots over the course of 18 holes. The handicap allowance for the team was exactly 10% of their combined course handicaps, this would be deducted

from the 18 hole gross score to give the final net team score. Ten teams of three players assembled for the 8am shotgun under perfect conditions and coming out on top after a narrow back nine card countback was the teams of Michael Lenarduzzi, Aaron O’Hara and Jamie Wood as they edged out William

O’HARA SEALS THE DECEMBER MEDAL AARON O’Hara sealed the final Chedi Monthly Medal of the year with a gross 80. The 4-handicapper admitted that he had played “pretty decently” during the first 17 holes but suffered a triple bogey on the treacherous 18th which nearly cost him the title. However, no-one in

the field could break 80 so O’Hara’s victory was assured. In the Net prizes Catherine Shackleton came out on top with a superb 63 to win by six strokes from second-placed Nasaruddin Mohammed who suffered a dent in confidence after making a double bogey on the par-3 second hole.


Hole 4. (Par 3 171 yards) Tip James Wood, Head Pro at Almouj Golf:

SIMON Duffield has been appointed the new General Manager at Almouj Golf. In addition, William Welsh and Kim Davies have been named the Men’s and Ladies Captains for 2013 and they have been tasked with leading the development of the competitive and social sides to the membership at Almouj Golf.

It can be difficult to maintain your focus as the green sits precariously on the coastline. The green itself is very long from front to back and one where the pin placement can alter your choice of club considerably.

Welsh, Kevin D’Amours and John Prescott by one shot. Both teams scored a net 64.6 on the day but it was the team of Lenarduzzi, O’Hara and Wood who recorded a net 32.8 on their back nine to take the title. Finishing in third place with a net 65.5 was the team of Edward and Louise Daly and Steven Morris.


CONTACT: Tel : +971 4 295 2277


STANDARD CHARTERED HOSTS FUND-RAISING EVENT STANDARD Chartered Bank recently hosted its annual golf tournament, which attracted 176 players at Doha Golf Club (DGC). The event was held to raise funds for “Seeing is Believing”, Standard Chartered’s flagship project which aims to restore sight to under privileged people suffering from avoidable sight problems around the world. The tournament attracted support from blue chip companies like Al Fardan, Qatar Airways, Oryx Rotana hotel, Conoco Philips, Milaha, Qatar Building Company and Midmac Contracting while two former Liverpool FC players, Jason McAteer and Gary Gillespie took part in what was a great day of golf. An auction of sporting memorabilia took place after play with items such as Roger Federer’s autographed tennis racket, and signed photos of rugby star Dan Carter, retired Formula One star Michael Schumacher and former golf world number Tiger Woods, attracting a great deal of

interest. Also among the items was a signed Liverpool team 2012 jersey and autographed football, donated by the Liverpool FC Foundation. The funds raised will help fund restorative eye surgery such as cataract operations, the training of eye care doctors, and the building of training facilities and vision centres. Charles Carlson, Chief Executive Officer for Standard Chartered Bank in Qatar said: “We are overwhelmed

by the generosity and support of our sponsors. The tournament has provided an opportunity to rally golfers and the community to raise funds for a common goal to help eradicate avoidable blindness and make a socio-economic difference to the community. “Standard Chartered Bank will match every dollar that is raised. As a result of the generosity of our sponsors and after the Bank matching

the funds, we will be able to restore the eyesight of nearly 2400 people.” Carlson also paid tribute to DGC, saying: “I would also like to recognise the support of the Doha Golf Club who has provided us the course and facilities at no cost in order to host these tournaments each year. “They have been outstanding in their support towards Seeing is Believing and Standard Chartered Bank.”


BMW GOLF CUP WINNERS SET FOR SOUTH AFRICA FINALS CHRIS Sharkey put in a sterling performance to top the pile in Men’s Category A with 35 points at the second BMW Golf Cup International 2012 organised by Alfardan Automobiles. More than 160 players participated in the hotly contested 18-hole individual Stableford event for the chance to tee it up in the World Finals in South Africa. Taking top honours in Men’s Category B was Dean Kenneally with 40 points while Tasmin Kazi claimed the Ladies’ Category. All three will now


be flown to the BMW Golf Cup International Finals taking place at the Fancourt Resort in March where they will compete against more than 100 other golfers from over 30 countries. “Golf enjoys a special relationship with BMW and we are committed to hold the BMW Golf Cups every year, which is another exciting way to promote our new BMW vehicles,” said Mohamad Kandeel, General Manager Alfardan Automobiles . “Both the golf sport and BMW are exclusive, elegant and stylish a perfect match for the brand’s premium character.”

SALEH Al Kaabi was crowned overall winner with 42 points at the Qatargas annual Golf Open Tournament. The event attracted over 352 entries, underlining the popularity of the tournament, which was contested over two days. In addition to players of the Qatar National team and the Qatar Golf Association, employees of Qatargas, it’s stakeholders, companies based in Ras Laffan Industrial City, banks and embassies participated in the tournament.

Chris Crane emerged top of the pile of Qatargas employees whilst Susie Daglass won the Ladies title and Bill Townsend won the ‘hole in one’ prize on hole 17. Ghanim Al Kuwari, Qatargas Chief Operating Officer – Administration, who presented the prizes to the winners, said: ‘’We are very pleased to host and organize such a successful tournament. Qatargas Open Golf, which is now in its 14th year, is one of the most popular events in Doha’s golfing calendar.’’



CONTACT: Tel : +973 1 775 0777


BUGGY TALK AROUND THE TURN The winning Mercedes Star Hackers team with Ulaiyan Alwetaid, Chief Executive Officer of VIVA.

VIVA CROWNS THE MERCEDES STAR HACKERS AS CHAMPIONS VIVA Bahrain crowned the Mercedes Star Hackers Team as Champions of the VIVA Corporate Night Golf League 2012 at the Royal Golf Club after a nervy sudden death play-off in their final match against the Awal Team as Peter Thompson’s putt on the 18th green secured the victory for his team. The squad, comprising Thompson, Rob Lane, Graeme Newport, Sara Thompson, Kevin Ross and Paul Carpenter won tickets to a Manchester United match of their choice in 2013 as well as a new BlackBerry Smart Phone each, courtesy of VIVA Bahrain. A play-off was also needed to separate third and fourth place in the Grand Final and Seef Dental eventually triumphed over the Bahrain Defense Force team, following a gross five, net four on the 18th Green from team member Adam Guy.

In addition to the matchplay competition held to decide the top four places in the league, a Texas Scramble tournament was held for the teams who didn’t quite make it into the top four. The Fore Golf team took the title with a net score of 30 while Ronan Armstrong won the nearest the pin side contest after a superb shot on the 12th hole. The clubs’ junior golfers were also honoured at the prize-giving ceremony and barbecue, following the recent conclusion of the VIVA Junior Order of Merit Series which took place on the Club’s Wee Monty par 3 course. Taimur Malik was the overall winner of the under 12 age category, Nayel Al Borshaid won the under 16 section and Fahad Al Hakam became champion in the under-21 category.

By Dr. Andrew Devine This month's "Buggy Talk" has the serious theme of mental health, prompted by the tragic death of a nurse in the UK, after she had unwittingly been duped into breaching the medical confidentiality of a member of the Royal Family during their recent stay in hospital. I thought it an appropriate theme for the start of a new year, a time when many people feel depressed and not just because they shot over 100 last round! What can lead people to take their own lives? Shame, helplessness, financial problems, in fact any number of different causes. But perhaps the biggest one of all is depression. Depression is by far the most common mental health disorder, with a lifetime incidence of about 20 per cent of the population. In other words, 1 in 5 of us either has had, has or will have a depressive illness. For many, they will get through their depression without really being aware they had it, only later does it become apparent that they had been depressed. For others it is something that requires lifelong management, often with medication, always with the support of friends and family. The most insightful book on depression I have ever read (and certainly more helpful than any 500 page psychiatry book) is ‘I Had A Black Dog’ by Matthew Johnstone.

The winning Moroccan team (red shirts, back row) and the second placed Bahrain team and third placed Qatar team (black shirts, right hand side) with tournament officials.

MOROCCO SECURE PAN ARAB CROWN MOROCCO’S national golf team claimed first place in the 32nd annual Pan Arab Championships leaving the host nation to settle for second place just one point adrift. However, Bahrain national player Nasser Yacoob appeased national pride by scooping top spot in the individual results with a four day total of 300, going two strokes better than second placed Khalid Attieh of Saudi

Arabia. Players competed across 72 holes in the prestigious four day tournament, organised by the Bahrain Golf Association. The national teams of 14 nations from across North Africa and the Middle East took part in the competition and a 54-hole junior event while a ladies competition took place alongside the main tournament.

Depression is an "illness of the brain" which impairs and alters our thoughts and perceptions; it is easy to see why we might not want to acknowledge it or let others know about it. It remains a stigmatising condition which is often thought to be a sign of weakness, or something that we have brought upon ourselves, or perhaps something we deserve because we are a bad person. It is of course none of these. Why is it so important so to identify depression? Sadly, because sometimes sufferers choose to take their own lives. With the right help at the right time, this can be avoided. Depression can be triggered by a set of circumstances which are currently prevailing and from which we can see no respite. Prolonged stress, 'when there is just never enough of me to go around and do all that is expected of me', can often be a major factor. What can we do to combat stress and ward off depression? The world's number one stress buster and therefore antidepressant is exercise. Any time, any place, any where, any kind. Add to this healthy eating and drinking, plenty of sleep, strong social support and we have the best strategy for coping with the modern, apparently heartless world we live in.

Top Tip: It you have a friend who looks stressed out, invite them for a round of golf.


A LOT GOES INTO YOUR BUSINESS. JUST AS MUCH GOES INTO YOUR GOLF BALL. Most of the world’s best players trust Titleist golf balls for their quality, consistency and performance. And many of the world’s best brands do, too. Associating your company with the #1 ball in golf makes a strong statement about your commitment to excellence. Our sophisticated logo and colour reproduction delivers the highest quality standards that your brand deserves. You put a lot into your business. That’s why we put just as much into your custom ball. For more about logo golf balls and custom packaging, contact your local golf shop, corporate golf specialist or visit

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JAGUAR XK CONVERTIBLE 5.0 V8 with the top down!



WIN COMPETITION Win a Scotty Cameron California Putter

NICOLE CASTRALE Up close with the LPGA star.


UNLEASH THECAT If you thought ferocious Jaguars were nearing extinction think again – the latest XK cats can compete with the prancing Italian horses or raging bulls.


N 1961 Jaguar stole the motoring spotlight when they unveiled the E-Type at the Geneva Auto Show. More than five decades later, they are still turning heads by blending power and grace to continue the versatile XK range. You can order the XK as either a coupé or convertible. Both are powered by a 5.0 litre V8 that delivers a whopping 385bhp and propels you from 0- 60mph in 5.3 seconds. If you are after something with a little more bite, then there’s the supercharged ‘R’ version that ups the brake horse power to 510 and the additional 125 ponies will shave the 0-60 time to 4.6 seconds. But if you want the ultimate ‘Big Cat’ then opt for the XKR-S, pictured right. With 550bhp on tap and geared to a top speed of 189mph it has brought Ferrari pace to the iconic badge. It’s not all about the power and looks, this beauty is also dripping in technology. The XK’s Adaptive Dynamics analyse the speed, steering and body movements 500 times a second and adjust the suspension with electronic dampers to achieve the ideal balance between comfort and precise handling. This system works in conjunction with the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). The default setting for DSC comes into play as soon as it detects the wheels slipping. The Trac DSC setting, on the other hand, allows some slipping and overspin before it intervenes – this allows for a sportier drive and is also essential with snow chains. The XK Convertible has its own array of safety features, including a highly advanced roll-over protection system. If the car’s on-board sensors detect an impending roll-over, two massively strong hoops – normally hidden under the rear tonneau – are triggered and designed to be deployed and to lock behind the rear seats within 65 milliseconds.






WIN a SCOTTY CAMERON CALIFORNIA PUTTER To enter, just ‘like’ us on facebook and ‘like’ this page




THE ladies’ version of the classic Datejust model from Rolex comes in a variety of different options, including this eye-catching pinkfaced number. The face is a dainty 26mm in diameter and features a Cyclops lens so that you can read the date clearly. The dial is set with 10 brilliant cut diamonds while the bezel is set with a further 46 diamonds. Blingtastic!

TITLEIST 913H The latest 913 hybrid from Titleist is due out next month. It’s a high performance hybrid that delivers long distance with outstanding ground contact and ball flight. The patented SureFit® Tour hosel technology allows loft and lie to be independently adjusted to precisely fit your game. 913H delivers the proper distance and forgiveness through the range of lofts via a progressive centre of gravity location and progressive offset. 913 H BENEFITS: MORE DISTANCE through optimized launch with reduced spin. PRECISION FIT to your game with our adjustable SureFit Tour hosel technology. PREFERRED LOOK AND FLIGHT from the progressive CG and offset that promotes proper ground contact. PREMIUM SHAFT CHOICES from our high performance stock or custom shaft matrix. SUPERIOR SOUND AND FEEL from a higher standard of acoustic engineering. PRECISION MADE with the industry’s tightest tolerances.

JAWBONE JAWBBONE JAMBOX JAW JAMB JA MBOO THIS nifty little wireless speaker sp allows you to stream music or any other audio from your phone, iPad or any Bluetoo Bluetooth device with astounding quality for such a compact portable device. With an output capacity cap of 85 decibels the Jambox can fill even the largest rooms while the built-in battery allows allo 10 hours of continuous playback. A powerful po built-in microphone also allows you to use the Jambox for sharing conference call calls with crystal clear qualit quality. Y You can even customise it in a choice of eye-catching colours.

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For Her L’Eau by Narciso Rodriguez (KGA) THIS new women’s fragrance from Narciso Rodriguez is an intoxicating and exhilarating blend of floral top notes, a musk heart and a jasmine and rose tinted base. Very alluring and mysterious. Technical jargon: Top notes – floral notes. Heart notes – musk. Base notes – jasmine, cyclamen, pink peony rose and lily of the valley.

Paul Smith Optimistic AN energetic scent for men from the British designer, Optimistic is an attention-grabber with its bold blend of spicy, woody and minty notes. Stylish and young for the man who knows how to have fun. Top notes – mandarin, black pepper. Heart notes – mint, geranium. Base notes – vetiver, cedar, amber.

James Bond 007 Fragrance Launched to mark the 50th anniversary of 007 the official Bond fragrance has a license to thrill (sorry!). As you would expect this is a suave and sophisticated scent for the discerning man about town. Technical jargon: Top notes – apples. Heart notes – cardamom. Base notes – sandalwood, vetiver, lavender, coumarin, moss.

American Crew Defining Paste Defining Paste from American Crew adds texture and definition to your hair. Beeswax provides a natural, pliable hold for various lengths. Wax-like consistency provides a matte finish while still remaining easy to distribute through hair. Defining Paste is similar to American Crew Fibre in texture and effect but is easier to use and distribute through hair. It can also be used in hair that’s beyond two inches in length.

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He forged a reputation as one of the baddest men in music and leather clad, snake wearing, demonic singer Alice Cooper has been delivering his unique brand of shock rock in a career that now spans an astonishing six decades.

Ines starred along side Andy Garcia in the 2005 film The Lost City.



Hits such as ‘School’s Out’, ‘Poison’ and ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’ are part of the rock ‘n’ roll canon and have made him a household name while his stage show has included him being hung, electrocuted and beheaded. There was even an incident involving an ill-fated chicken which caused uproar in the press in 1969. So he doesn’t sound like the kind of chap you’d usually associate with the genteel and gentlemanly game of golf. But in fact, Alice Cooper (born Vincent Furnier) the man, is quite a bit different to Alice Cooper the stage character. A bornagain Christian and family man, Cooper has been obsessed with the game since taking up in to help him beat alcoholism in the early 1980s. He hasn’t \W]KPMLILZWX[QVKMJ]\\PMÅ^M̉PIVLQKIXXMZQ[ now hopelessly addicted to golf instead! WWG: You don’t exactly fit the image most people have of a typical golfer. AC: I have a real different life to the one people imagine I have. But when I become Alice I get to be that guy, I get to be him. It’s like Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal Lecter – you get to be Hannibal Lecter. It’s really funny because Alice the character, hates golf. If you put golf clubs on my stage, Alice wouldn’t even know what they were. He would look at them and think they were weapons. I divorce the two characters that much. WWG: Having said that, golf is becoming pretty popular among music stars these days isn’t it? AC: When I think of all the guys that play golf now. I was the first rocker that ever played golf and now Lou Reed, Iggy (Pop), Metallica, it’s like every band in the world plays golf now! WWG: Where did the idea for the ‘Alice Cooper’ stage character come from when you started it in the late 60s? AC: Everybody in music at that point was Peter Pan and I just thought ‘Where’s Captain Hook?’ So I created the Alice character. For every McCartney and Hermin’s Hermits an all that, there was just no villain, and I said, ‘I can create this Alice character to be the greatest rock villain of all time.’

WWG: Tell us about the infamous chicken incident? AC: That was our very first big show. We were on stage, we had feathers, we had pillows and we had CO2 cartridges. We used to break these open and then we would blast feathers all over the audience. And then somebody threw a chicken on stage. A live chicken. I mean, I’m from Detroit, you know, I’d never been on a farm in my life. I figured, ‘well, it’s got wings, it’s got feathers, it’ll fly. I’ll just throw it out there and it will fly away.’ I threw it in the audience, and the audience tore it to pieces! The next thing I was reading in the papers: ‘He was ripping the heads off chickens on stage and drinking their blood.’ WWG: Is it true that golf played its part in helping you to give up drinking? AC: I gave up one addiction for another. I think you’ll find that a lot of guys who quit drinking and doing drugs, if they’re going to escape them, they need another outlet to get addicted to. That’s especially true of musicians. All I can say is, golf is definitely my addiction, but fortunately, a much healthier one.

“When I think of all the guys that play golf now. I was the ÅZ[\ZWKSMZ that ever played golf. ”

WWG: You live in Scottsdale, Arizona, which isn’t exactly short of golf courses. How often do you play, where do you play, and what’s been your best round? AC: I only really get to play around five times per week! But you know, I try to make do with that. My best round was a 67 at Camelback Golf Club, I played off two when I had that round but I’m off five now – I realised that you couldn’t make any money at two! I belong to a lot of desert courses, living in Scottsdale, but I always think it’s fun to play courses like Muirfield Village and the tree lined courses that are so different to the ones we have back home. I kinda enjoy playing the standard courses every once in a while. WWG: So do you ever take to the course in full Alice Cooper face paint? AC: Ha ha, I don’t wear the make-up, no, but I’m the only guy there who can scare the ball into the hole. WWG: Tell us about the tournament you host, the Alice Cooper Rock and Roll Golf Classic, in aid of your Solid Rock Foundation? AC: The aim of the Solid Rock Foundation is to keep inner city kids out of gangs, guns and drugs. The tournament gets a really good turn-out, almost all of the guys who are on the celebrity golf circuit play in it so we do real well with it. WWG: You’re quite strict on only allowing sponsorships and partnership for the tournament from brands which fit the values of the foundation aren’t you? AC: Our success proves you can do a tournament that is wholesome and still have fun. Over the years we have turned down almost every beer and cigarette company there is, because we don’t want to be hypocrites to the kids we are trying to help.

star golfer





WWG: If given a choice to skip work for a day, how would you spend the entire day? NC: I would want my husband, Craig and I to spend all day playing with our daughter Eleni. WWG: If you could have an unlimited storage of one thing, what would it be? NC: Clothes for Eleni. WWG: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? NC: I would love to go to Greece to meet my relatives. WWG: What’s your favourite midnight snack? NC: Chocolate Chips. WWG: Where do you see yourself in the next five years? NC: Being a mom and playing on the LPGA. WWG: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? NC: An orthopedic Surgeon. WWG: What scares you the most and why? NC: Snakes creep me out! WWG: Which is the funniest prank played on you or played by you? NC: I gave a high school teammate a calculator the day after he signed his scorecard for a wrong score. WWG: What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received? NC: Jay Haas once told me, “Just because you are nervous, it doesn’t mean you can’t hit a good shot!”

spotlight 96

FEELING LUCKY? Challenge your friends to night golf fourball for only



Book online or call us now on +971 4 381 3733 for tee time bookings. This January we have a special treat for night golfers. For only 777 AED you can enjoy a game of fourball with your friends after work. So combat the post festive season blues at 7KH7UDFNDQGKHDGWR0H\GDQWRJHW\RXUJROIĂ€[QRZ Like us on Follow us on @thetrackmeydan

AFTER MORE THAN A CENTURY GOLF RETURNS TO THE OLYMPICS In Rio de Janeiro in 2016, the best golfers in the world will compete for the most coveted prize in all of sport: Olympic gold. Omega welcomes this great game back to the most prestigious sporting platform on earth.


Worldwide Golf January 2013  
Worldwide Golf January 2013  

Tiger Woods is back in the Middle East to give Rory McIlroy a challenge in Abu Dhabi. Will Tiger regain the No.1 title or has he had his day...