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PH Open gets leg up from Japan Tour


A GOLF scholar is miffed by the latest enterprise of the National Golf Association of the Philippines to enrich the Philippine Open on Dec. 5 to 8.

The guy I won’t name is semi-retired and now looks forward to playing some golf every chance he gets.

“(NGAP president Tommy) Manotoc and Caloy (former golfer and NGAP veep Carlos Coscolluela Jr.) on top of NGAP can always mess up and nobody gives a hoot (expletives replaced),” the golf sage barked by text message. “The (Philippine) Open’s been bastardized…”

The granddaddy of men’s national golf championships in Asia, the PH Open used to be a destination, but has become a distraction, an afterthought it seems, to the regional circuit.

Under Tommy’s initiative that’s abhorred by more than a few conservatives, the Open has broken a long association with the Asian Tour.

The Open has since joined the upstart but wealthier One Asia Tour and its tournaments in Korea, China, Australia and New Zealand—each with a guaranteed $1 million purse.

One Asia has also cemented ties with the Japan Tour, the more lucrative but seemingly impenetrable circuit. Next year, the PH Open penciled for March or April will become a leg of the Japan Tour, known of late to have lengthened its drive with stops in Indonesia and Thailand.

“It’s a nationalistic move,” Manotoc said in defense of the NGAP’s decision to join One Asia and open the door for Pinoy pros that find the Japan Tour tough to enter because of stringent qualifying standards.

“With the new accord, the Philippines will now be allowed to field 20 to 25 pros in the Japan Tour,” Manotoc stressed.

Under One Asia, the 2013 PH Open is expected to offer a bank-breaking pot of $700,000. It will accommodate 40 local touring pros and amateur standouts and 25 golfers each from the Japan, One Asia and Asian tours.

Manotoc also disclosed that the NGAP has abandoned its bid to entice Australian-Filipino golfer Jason Day to play in the 97th PH Open.

It turned out that people representing Day, runner-up in the Masters and US Open two years ago, had demanded too much money for the superstar to become more familiar with the country of his mother’s birth.

* * *

The pork barrel scam continues to inflame public anger following the huge anti-corruption rally at Luneta Park and the surrender, strangely enough, to President P-Noy of principal suspect Janet Lim-Napoles.

People are madder because it’s turning out that the discovery of P10 billion in Priority Development Assistance Fund allegedly pocketed by Napoles barely scratches the surface.

So what could P10 billion do, if lawfully funneled to sports?

“We can start by getting out of Rizal (Memorial Sports Complex) and build (sic) a training center and better facilities for our athletes,” texted Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia.

“They (athletes) deserve better than where we are now,” said Garcia of conditions at the historic, but rundown RMSC. Sports officials want to sell the complex for P5 billion.

At almost P800 million a year, P10 billion would be enough to shoulder the PSC’s budget for over 10 years, said aquatics chief Mark Joseph.

At P50 million per, the amount would suffice for 200 25-meter, ecologically designed swimming pools that fulfill Olympic competition needs, and where 200,000 kids could learn to swim, according to Joseph.

Got ideas on how to spend P10 billion for Philippine sports? Please respond to 10bil4phsports@gmail.com

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Tags: Golf , National Golf Association

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