NSAs take heed: How did golf do it? Eliminate politics, lobbying, says golf chief Lorenzo
JAKARTA—National Golf Association of the Philippines president Martin Lorenzo, a long-time, low-key sports patron, loves to cook. And as a brilliant businessman, he made billions off his delectable dishes.
As a chef handling the golf body for just less than a year now, he removed the ingredients that spoiled the NGAP dish and gave the country it’s biggest surprise in the 18th Asian Games here with a golden double courtesy of three young lasses that thrived under the new national program.
“One of the priorities of the current NGAP leadership is to minimize—if not totally eliminate—all forms of politics, lobbying and extraneous agendas within the organization,” Lorenzo said in a text message to the Inquirer.
“With these out of the way, it allowed our national golfers to focus all their attention and efforts on improving their skills and sharpening their games,” said Lorenzo, who sold the Pancake House franchise several years back reportedly for a couple of billion pesos before buying a chunk of the Hacienda Luisita sugar business and its picturesque golf course.
Lorenzo backed his words with cash and made sure that the men’s and women’s teams that flew over here were prepared as best as they could be and equipped with the latest technology that money could buy.
“We’re running close to P3 million in expenses just for the preparation for this tournament alone,” NGAP secretary general Bones Floro, a trusted Lorenzo lieutenant who was also the non-playing skipper for both squads, told the Inquirer.
“Whatever the players want, we got for them—equipment, tournament exposure, plane fares, everything,” Floro said.
“It is said that great talent needs great management to be successful,” Lorenzo said.
Yuka Saso won the individual gold and with Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go, won the team championship, a first for the country in Asiad golf achieved by a prodigious trio with an average age of 18.
“These young ladies have yet to enter their peak athletic years, and as they grow in maturity and experience, their potential to excel in the international arena—in the LPGA and even the Olympics (in 2020 in Tokyo)—is enormous,” Lorenzo said.
Those twin gold medals are worth a staggering P12 million, with Saso to get P8 million—P6 million for the individual and another P2 million for her share in the team incentive.
“Money is a double-edged sword,” Lorenzo said. “On one hand, it can be used for education, advanced training and establishing a support team that can take your golf game to the next level,” he said. “This is what I would advise Yuka to do with her prize money.”
“On the other hand, money can also bring all sorts of dubious characters out of the woodwork to try and get a piece of the prize,” he added. “Yuka and her family should be very wary of these sycophants, who will be nothing but distractions in her career.”
Saso should listen. Lorenzo has been as scrutinizing at the helm of the NGAP, and look where the sport is now.