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It has been said that in sports writing, the smaller the ball the better the prose.  I am not sure that this is true considering that I have hardly read anything of interest in the sport of table tennis.  Nonetheless, golf has been a great repository of sports literature due perhaps to the fact that every tournament, every win is marked by something quite different.  The story lines are just so rich and varied that many a tome can never be confused for a duplicate.

 

During the Tiger years, the story is domination.  For the Mickelson wins it is redemption.  For Rory, the excitement of the future.  For Darren Clarke though, his story just makes one feel good.  Seeing him win and reading a lot of the accounts, one gets that fuzzy feeling inside reserved often only for stories about babies, children, dogs even.  It is that part of the heart where you just feel a deep happiness inside, where a tear forms in your eyes and you are just glad that the universe is in order.  Seldom is this realm reserved for golf where competition is fierce and victory is the ultimate.  Darren Clarke’s win the Open Championship in Royal St. George left me with a cuddly feeling much unlike any other major championship result.

 

I do remember one time though when I felt like this in another golfing event.  That was back in 2006.  The Ryder Cup was being played in the K Club in Ireland, led by the original wee iceman, Ian Woosnam.  While Europe won in commanding fashion, the story line that really struck me was how Darren Clarke, who had just buried his lovely wife, a victim of breast cancer, no earlier than a month before, steeled himself to contribute three crucial points to the cause.  Many would have forgiven him if he was less than stellar or even mediocre for that matter.  His image, walking by his lonesome in the parade of participants, where each one had a significant other hanging from his arm, brought instant tears into my eyes, especially knowing his circumstances just a few weeks prior.  Even more, when he won his singles match and mightily, but unsuccessfully held back tears, as the crowds of his native land embraced him through their cheers. Europe won that day, but everyone only remembers that event as the one as Darren Clarke’s triumph.

 

Golf, especially links golf is a fickle game.  Just when Tiger made it appear that golf is predictable, we’ve had 6 straight first time winners.  Just when the youth movement has appeared to take a hold of the game, a 42 year old man takes the Claret Jug.  Clearly, Darren appears to be in the twilight of his career.  Dropping to 111 in the World Golf Ranking, with no win in the last three years save for a win in a minor tournament last May, Darren was not even considered a possibility entering this week.  It seems he’d fit in more in a picture of the local pub than in the winner’s circle.    Sure Northern Ireland produced 2 major champions in the last 5 majors.  Sure those two champions (McDowell and McIlroy) viewed Darren as their idol growing up.  But Darren has not been a major contender in 10 years, has not even played the last three majors and it seems time and opportunities have raced past him, not that it appeared to bother him.  At the ripe old age of 42, Darren was an afterthought.  Surely Darren Clarke’s chances have passed and he could not be considered as a threat to win this one, in spite having a one shot lead entering the last round.  Sure surprises happen but nothing in Darren’s recent career seem to indicate that he can pull this out.  But in the end Darren himself  saw first hand the fickleness of the game during his last round.  Where his contenders fell into pot bunkers, missed putts from a few feet away, had their balls blown away out of bounds, his shots always seemed to be magically protected.  Twice his ball jumped over bunkers onto waiting greens.  Countless times he had to save par from lengthy distances to keep the momentum going, just as other players crept ever closer.  Just as quickly as Phil rolled in an eagle to tie him at the top, he too rolls in an eagle to just ahead by two.  While the weather and golfing chances of everyone around him rose and fell, Darren remained calm (at least seemingly).  It seemed like he was just taking a stroll on a sunday, cig in his fingers, sun on his face, smile plastered on his mug.  He faced dangers but they never seemed to faze them.  He played along, like many of us in our sunday rounds, just happy to be on the course.  In the end,   the so-called golf gods appeared to have found favor with Darren and he found victory, a victory for the ages.  This win was not achieved by our preset golfing deity, they of the laser focus and the 300 yard drives, but by a golfing buddy, the one we’ll have a pint with in the 19th hole.

 

Say what you will about his career, Darren was always beloved.  Not only for the memory of his loss in 2006 and his triumph in the K Club, but more because of the fact that he was a man we could all relate to.  He was the bloke we drank beer and smoked cigars with.  He was one to share ribald jokes with, slapping backs in the midst of side splitting laughter.  He was not of the flat bellied set but more like the local pro at the muni.  He is relatable, reachable one of us.  Seeing him lift the jug, seemingly in representation of all of us duffers.  He was declared the champion golfer of the year.  Nay, he is our champion golfer of the year… the one who gave us that nice fuzzy feeling inside.

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Rory

The Mac train has reached its first station.

Rory McIlroy, he of the curly hair and boyish demeanor, just won his first, of what is projected to be many, golf major championships, the 2011 US Open. After the debacle of Augusta, where an 80 on the final round cost him the green jacket, after leading by 4 strokes entering the final round, many debated whether the young lad from Northern Ireland has fallen into an abysss from which he cannot be expected to recover. But lo and behold, not only did he win the tournament, he decimated the field steaming home like a runaway locomotive.

Leading all four rounds, Rory built on his lead over the first three rounds, creating records along the way. After a flawless 65, 6-under, first round, he backed up his play with a 66 in the second for a phenomenal 11-under score in the US Open, where par is sacred. Of even greater significance is the fact that he double bogeyed the 18th for his first over par score over the first two rounds. By reaching 13 under he breached the winning score of Tiger Woods in Pebble Beach, where he lapped the field. In fact 13 under has never been reached in the history of the US Open, ever!

Between the second and third, speculation was rife that the lad would fold under the pressure and collapse. History unfortunately was against him. After a phenomenal 63 in last year’s British Open, he skied to an 80 in the second round. In spite of two great rounds after, the talk was he was lacked the killer instinct to close the deal. Thihs view was confirmed in the Master’s earlier this year, where he slept a 4 stroke lead enetering the final round, only to shoot another 80 to drop from 1st to 15th when all was said and done. So, a 6 stroke lead over Korean Y.E. Yang, a former PGA Champion, the man known to stare down Tiger, and out gun him in the final round of a major, can be easily overcome.

But Rory, with knowledge gathered from his previous performances, has matured. After a little shaky start in the thihrd, he settled down and shot a remarkable 68 ending the day at 14 under, a never before heard of score and more importantly, an 8 shot lead entering the fourth.

In spite of this, people still doubted. Prognosticators said that with the softened condition of Congressional, someone could still post a ridiculous number and another 80 may still pull the youngster back to earth. But Rory remained unbowed.With a birdie on 16th, Rory reached the stratosphere at 17 under par. A three putt bogey on 17, his first for the championship, and a great par on 18 gave him a 16 under total 268, numbers so low, they were unthinkable. In the end he won by 8 over Fil-Australian Jason Day leaving no doubt that we are witnessing the start of an era.

Other notes: At 22 years and 46 days, Rory, becomes the second youngest major champion in the modern era, next only to Tiger, who was 21 when he won the 97 Masters. Rory is the youngest US Open champion, beating the old record of Jack Nicklaus… Nirthern Ireland has produced the last two US Open champions, after Greame McDowell won last year… The first thing Rory told his dad, after getting off the greaan was “happy father’s day”… Jason Day just came in second in his second straight major and third straight top tens in majors. He has just shown that he is part of the mix as the next generation of stars… Rory shot all four rounds in the 60s onky the second time its been done … Robert Garrigus, a qualifier, shot all four rounds under par, being the fifth man to do it, ending up at 6 under in a tie for third, with Yang, and Lee Westwood amongst others.

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This is the week of the Masters, “a tradition like no other”, as CBS’s Jim Nantz would say.  For the first time in 12 years Tiger Woods is not the odds on favorite to bring home the green jacket.  Phil Mickelson holds that distinction having won 4 of the last 7 stagings of this event, including last year, and winner last week of the Shell Houston Open.  So who do I think will win this year’s edition?  In no particular order my top 5 are:

 

1.  Phil Mickelson – Can’t really argue here.  The guy just came off an impressive win, putting together 2 fine rounds to win in Houston.  The defending Master’s champion showed last year how much he owns the course.  He played with reckless abandon and was rewarded in the end.  His 6 iron from behind the trees in 15 is still the stuff of legends and will forever be part of Master’s lore.  My problem with Phil is that while he won last week, his season before last week was quite pedestrian.  Will we get the champion golfer or the guy who has been complaining about his arthritis.

 

2.  Martin Kaymer – Ok so he has never made the cut in the Master’s.  Ok so he has not won since he became number 1.  Ok  so he has not really contended since the Accenture Match Play.  But the guy is the number 1 player in the world for a reason.  He is steady, composed, long, and accurate.  He has the game for the Master’s and definitely the temperament.  His win in the PGA Championship showed that he can handle the pressure of a Sunday major.  Can he do so, while the cheers are murmuring amongst the trees and azaleas in Augusta?  I think so.

 

3.  Bubbba Watson – It is no secret that long hitters do well in Augusta and Bubba definitely fits the bill.  His game has improved by leaps and bounds and has even given him a win this year while contending in others.  His heartbreak in the PGA only steeled and prepared him for pressure in a Sunday back 9.  More importantly, his short game is pretty good and with the undulating greens in the Masters, that can only serve him well.

 

4.  Lee Westwood – This guy is due.  Has contended in Augusta ending up second last year.  He has contended in the other majors as well just  failing to get over the hump.  This former world number  1 has the game to breakthrough but has to contend with a rather bulky putter lately.  Nonetheless, he has the poise and ability to win.  The golfing gods will do well to reward this gifted golfer.  It’s about time.

 

5.  Matt Kuchar – After his impressive debut in Augusta in 1998, he has kinda fallen off the map.  But last year saw the reemergence of Matt Kuchar, winning once, topping the money, winning the Nelson and Vardon trophies as well.  this year he already has 6 top 10s in 8 events and is 3rd in scoring.  Statistically, he is in a good position to win his first major.  It would indeed be a great story for this Georgia native to win in his hometown.

 

Honorable mentions include Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Nick Watney, and sentimental favorite Ernie Els.  For the asians we can only look towards KJ Choi and Ryo Ishikawa.  I hope the latter does well if only for his pledge to Japanese relief efforts.

 

So those are the players to watch out for.  Who will win?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Let’s enjoy this tradition which unfolds tonight.

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What’s up with Frankie nowadays?

As many of us know, Frankie is now in the US Seniors Tour.  Having missed out on trying to qualify last year due to problems with his applications he finally was able to get his documents together and joined the Senior Tour qualifying school.  Showing his true form, he played with distinction and wound up 2nd to Kieth Clearwater.  People were so excited to see how Frankie would do in this next phase of his career and expectation were quite high.  In the review of the rookie class of the Seniors Tour at the PGATour website, Frankie was viewed as a sleeper who could come from nowhere and be an instant star.

This evaluation really had  basis.  Aside from his 2nd place showing in the qualifying, he did play very well in the European Seniors Tour as a non-member.  In the 4 events he played in he was 2nd 3 times (twice to Boonchu Ruangkit).  In those three events he had the chance to win, but faltered in the end.  All told, his Senior Tour earnings in Europe in 2010 amounted to almost 120,000 Euros.  No small change.  Add to this fact his illustrious career spanning several decades, leading to 7 wins in Japan and countless others in Asia.  With his rich pedigree no wonder big things are expected from him.

Alas, though, his stint in the Senior Tour as of now has been less than stellar.  He has earned $7,323.00 in 3 events and is 89th in the money list.  His best showing is a T52 at The Ace Group Classic.  Frankie though has exhibited glimpses of what he can do.  He had a credible 71 in the first round of the Allianz Championship which made people take notice.  I suppose he just needs to get more acclimated then he will show the Frankie we all know and love.

Good luck Frankie in your exploits in the US.  We know you can do so much more.  Keep the faith.

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In the recent Del Monte Leg of the ICTSI Golf Tour, Elmer Salvador, Richard Sinfuego and Juvic Pagunsan were all disqualified for a supposed violation of Rule 22 of the Rules of Golf that states:

22-1. Ball Assisting Play
Except when a ball is in motion, if a player considers that a ball
might assist any other player, he may:
a. Lift the ball if it is his ball; or
b. Have any other ball lifted.
A ball lifted under this Rule must be replaced (see Rule 20-
3). The ball must not be cleaned, unless it lies on the putting
green (see Rule 21).
In stroke play, a player required to lift his ball may play first
rather than lift the ball.
In stroke play, if the Committee determines that competitors
have agreed not to lift a ball that might assist any competitor,
they are disqualified.

The tournament committee thereafter came out with an official statement as follows:

“Elmer Salvador, Juvic Pagunsan and Richard Sinfuego was disqualified after it was confirmed that they three players in the last flight agreed not to let Elmer Salvador mark his ball which landed and was at rest about 6 inches from the hole.


The unfortunate incident happened on the 18th hole (par 5) of the last and final round. Elmer Salvador pitched his 3rd shot from around the green and his ball came to rest 6 inches beside the hole. And when Elmer walked on the green and was about to mark his ball, he backed off and discontinued the act of marking his ball and just moved aside. Juvic Pagunsan then who was also off the left side of the green pitched his ball and it came to rest about 18 inches from the hole. Then after Richard Sinfuego whose ball was also off the green, chipped his 4th shot and his ball rolled passed and went in between Elmer Salvador’s unmarked ball and the hole. The rulesmen who were around the said green had no idea to what the intentions of the players mentioned. The sequence of events were simoultaneous and swift that no one realized that there was a breached to a Rule, Rule 22-1 to be in exact. The breach was actually realized when a fellow competitor watching the game informed the rulesmen on site that he overheard the three players talking/agreeing for Elmer Salvador not to mark his ball anymore and let the two other players hit from their positions just off the green. This was later on confirmed when the three players were intreviewed after their round by the Rules Committee. Elmer Salvador narrated that while walking to his ball on the green Juvic Pagunsan told him not to mark his ball anymore and he obliged by not marking his ball due to respect that he has for Juvic. Juvic then hit his chip shot which came to rest 18 inches from the hole. Juvic Pagunsan actually admitted that he said that statement to Elmer and he ddint realize that they were about to violate a Rule. Similar case was also discovered when Richard Sinfuego admitted to us that he didnt want Elmer to mark his ball from the green so that he had a chance of hitting Elmer’s ball just in case it rolls pass the hole. So after confirming from all three players that they all agreed to the act of requesting Elmer not to mark his ball lying 6 inches from the hole while the two other players where playing their shots also to the same hole, the Rules Committe had no other opotion but to Disqualify all three players for violation of Rule 22-1 Ball Assisting Play. Similar case is also written in the Decisions on the Rules of Golf Book (Rule 22/6).”

Looking at the facts in light of the rule as quoted in my view Sinfuego should be disqualified but Salvador and Pagunsan should be spared. The rule states clearly that the players who violate this rule must have agreed not to lift the ball that might assist any competitor. From the facts only Sinfuego had an intent to illegally obtain assistance with no prior knowledge of the others. Salvador and Pagunsan had no knowledge nor intent to participate in the act of Sinfuego. The most that can be attributed to Salvador and Pagunsan as clearly stated in the ruling is that “they all agreed to the act of requesting Elmer not to mark his ball lying 6 inches from the hole while the two other players where playing their shots also to the same hole”. Nowhere is it stated herein that the ball was unmarked for the purpose of aiding a competitor as the rules require. Even the statement states that the rulesmen did not know the intention of the parties. So this begs the question, how did they jump from the act of not marking the ball to intent to assist without any supporting evidence or admission of guilt (except for Sinfuego)? In my view there is a jump in logic.

Were this a criminal case, a finding of guilt can only be arrived at if all the elements of a crime are present. For this rule it appears that the elements would be: a) non marking of the ball; b) intent to assist a competitor; and c) agreement of the competitors to that end. In this case only the first element was present. Since all the elements of the crime were not met no finding of guilt can be arrived at. Even if we do not apply the strict standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt in criminal cases and apply the less stringent preponderance of evidence or civil cases, it cannot be said that there is enough evidence to make a finding of a violation. It is unfortunate that there is no way that these gentlemen can reverse this ruling in spite of the fact they were unjustly treated because courts will not inquire into rulings of private entities conducting their own contests using their own rules to which the competitors have subscribed. Further, the USGA states that once results are announced that pronouncement is final. Nonetheless it must be vigorously argued that an injustice to at least Salvador and Pagunsan occurred here.

Some have said ignorance of the law excuses no one. If they committed all the elements of the violation they are charged with then ignorance of the rules cannot save them. True, but then Salvador and Pagunsan did not violate the rule, so this argument, as to them is immaterial. Others may argue conspiracy. But how can there be conspiracy when they did not have a common goal as it appears only Sinfuego had an intent to violate the rule? Lastly, some may say that the rules state that it is enough that the ball not be lifted “that might assist any competitor”. Therefore intent or conspiracy is not material. If this is the case then the rule is ambiguous as it sets no definitive standard or way to arrive at a standard. Clearly, what is a common standard that can be used to determine what might assist a competitor? In my view intent is where this case turns. No intent no crime.

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This week saw significant results from Filipino par busters in the European Tour.  The main tour was in Malaysia this week for the Maybank Malaysian Open.  Entering the final round, our four Filipino campaigners found themselves in good position to really make great strides.  After all the Filipinos made the cut, they all had the opportunity to earn big bucks and maybe even have the chance to be fully exempt in the European tour.  Angelo Que ended the third round with an even par 72 and found himself 4 back at 10th place, after starting the round joint 3rd.  He had a faulty first nine where he registered a 38 but recovered well in the final 9 to maintain his position.  Mars Pucay had a third round 70 to be tied for 38th, while Tony Lascuna and Juvic Pagunsan were tied for 56th.

Unfortunately, our guys had rather lackluster final rounds and the hoped for improved placing did not materialize.  Angelo Que again broke par with a 71 on nines of 36 and 35.  He had two birdies and a bogey for his round to end up tied for 10th.  Mars Pucay had a 73 to drop to tied for 44th while Tony Lascuna also had a 73 to stay at tied for 56th.  Juvic Pagunsan had a horrific 76 to drop to joint 70.

Because this is a co-sanctioned event between the European and Asian Tours, the prize money was quite generous, with the winner Noh Seung Yul winning $333,330.00.  Angelo went home with a top 10 finish and $35,850.00.  This bolted Angelo up to 10th place in the Asian Tour Order of Merit.  The next events in the Asian Tour schedule are tied to world events like the CA Championship and the Masters.  The Asian Tour will be back in full swing in April 22 for the Ballantine Championship at Jeju Island in Korea, birthplace of YE Yang.  Next week though would be significant as it would be the British Open International Final Qualifying for Asia to be held in Malaysia as well.  Angelo Que and Mars Pucay are trying to make the British Open field this year.  They are in competition with stalwarts from Japan, Korea, Australia and others, with stars from the Asian Tour littering the field.  Only four slots are available for the British Open in next weeks event so out guys will really have to put in a special effort to punch their tickets for St. Andrews, the birthplace of golf.

While many of us concentrated on watching how our players are doing in the Malaysian Open, many may not known that another Filipino made waves this week in the European Tour, albeit at the Senior Level.  In this year’s Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters, golfing legend Frankie Minoza made a great account of himself by placing second to old rival Boonchu Runagkit after losing in a playoff.  Frankie was actually down by two after Ruangkit birdied the 17th.  But Frankie never gave up and birdied the last, while watching flightmate Ruangkit falter with a bogey for a two shot swing.  In the playoff both parred the first playoff hole but Frankie bogeyed the next to hand the crown to Ruangkit who parred the hole.  Frankie really played well, leading Runagkit to comment that Frankie played very well.  He noted that Frankie outdrove him significantly all day.  Breaks just spelled the difference.  For his effort Frankie earned Euro:29,555.19.  It is good to note that Frankie beat world class champions Sam Torrence (T-5) and Ian Woosnam (T-17) who were also in the field.

Good show for our pinoys.  Hope they even do better in their campaigns and bring home hardware in the future.  Kudos mga kababayan.

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This past week, the golfing world lay witness to the fact that golf is not merely an individual pursuit but can, instead be played in representation of flag and country.  In the President’s Cup, the United States upended the spirited charge of the International Team (19 1/2 to 14 1/2) and once again affirmed their dominance of this biennial event.  In the 8 times this event has been staged, the United States has won 6 times.  The International Team won in 1998, held in Melbourne Australia, in convincing fashion (20 1/2 to 11 1/2) for their lone win.  The teams tied in 2003, after the captain’s (Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player) agreed to share the cup as darkness enveloped the The Links Course at Fancourt Hotel and Country Club Estate George, Western Cape Province, South Africa.   I remember this distinctly.  After the teams tied 17 all, the captains chose one player from each team to represent the sides in a sudden death playoff.  Tiger and Ernie were chosen and they engaged in a dramatic tug-of-war for 3 holes.  They matched clutch putt after clutch putt in the gathering darkness, neither one wanting to concede to the other.  But alas, mother nature had other plans and demanded that the teams demonstrate a show of solidarity by sharing the cup.  Significantly, this is the first President’s Cup after the tragedy of 9/11 underscoring that a show of sportsmanship can mirror the need for unity amongst all men at the time.

I recall that in the first President’s Cup in 1994, Frankie Minoza was actually in the running to make the team, eventually ending up 11th or 12th in the ranking.  Captain David Graham supposedly considered Frankie for inclusion as a captain’s pick but eventually chose Fultom Allen and Tsukasa Watanabe.  When Greg Norman withdrew, Graham chose Bradley Hughes to replace him.  Who know, if perhaps with Frankie’s inclusion in the 1994 team they would not have been beat 20 to 12.  Frankie never really threatened to make the team thereafter.

In addition to the holding of the President’s cup, the golfing world also received wonderful news that golf will be an Olympic Sport in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.  The plan is that, the 60 males and 60 females in the world will compete for the medals in two divisions.  The top 15 players from the world rankings of each group will be automatically included, regardless of the number of representatives a country gets.  After the top 15, players will be chosen by rank so that each country will be represented by at most 2 players.  If a country already has more than 2 players within the top 15, it can no longer be represented by other players thereafter.  This goes on until 60 slots are filled.   If the Olympics were held today, this means that the following will be participating:

1 Tiger Woods USA 1
2 Phil Mickelson USA 2
3 Steve Stricker USA 3
4 Paul Casey Great Britain/N.Ireland 4
5 Henrik Stenson Sweden 5
6 Kenny Perry USA 6
7 Padraig Harrington Ireland 7
8 Sergio Garcia Spain 8
9 Jim Furyk USA 9
10 Geoff Ogilvy Australia 10
11 Lee Westwood Great Britain/N.Ireland 11
12 Martin Kaymer Germany 12
13 Stewart Cink USA 13
14 Sean O’Hair USA 14
15 Vijay Singh Fiji 15
16 Camilo Villegas Colombia 16
17 Retief Goosen South Africa 21
18 Ernie Els South Africa 23
19 Robert Karlsson Sweden 24
20 Angel Cabrera Argentina 28
21 Y.E. Yang Korea 30
22 Mike Weir Canada 31
23 Robert Allenby Australia 32
24 Soren Kjeldsen Denmark 33
25 Miguel A. Jimenez Spain 40
26 Soren Hansen Denmark 42
27 Ryo Ishikawa Japan 43
28 Jeev Milkha Singh India 48
29 Shingo Katayama Japan 52
30 Thongchai Jaidee Thailand 53
31 Stephen Ames Canada 59
32 Francesco Molinari Italy 67
33 K.J. Choi Korea 78
34 Prayad Marksaeng Thailand 89
35 Thomas Levet France 97
36 Lin Wen-Tang Taiwan 99
37 Andres Romero Argentina 103
38 David Smail New Zealand 108
39 Edoardo Molinari Italy 111
40 Danny Lee New Zealand 125
41 Raphael Jacquelin France 138
42 Nicolas Colsaerts Belgium 166
43 Peter Lawrie Ireland 170
44 Gaganjeet Bhullar India 172
45 Liang Wen-Chong China 192
46 Robert-Jan Derksen Netherlands 201
47 Alex Cejka Germany 210
48 Felipe Aguilar Chile 211
49 Markus Brier Austria 228
50 Jose-Felipe Lima Portugal 232
51 Brendon de Jonge Zimbabwe 269
52 Lam Chih Bing Singapore 271
53 Roope Kakko Finland 278
54 Fabrizio Zanotti Paraguay 282
55 Marc Cayeux Zimbabwe 288
56 Maarten Lefeber Netherlands 314
57 Lu Wen-Teh Taiwan 317
58 Henrik Bjornstad Norway 350
59 Juvic Pagunsan Phillipines 374
60 Angelo Que Phillipines 390

(Correction:  This is an updated list.  I was alerted by madsjmd of pinoygolfer.com of a link with the list.  I failed to consider that GBR covers N. Ireland, Wales and Scotland.  As a result, players moved up.  What is really interesting is that our very own Juvic Pagunsan and Angelo Que now make the field under this qualifying system. )

Of course we are talking about 7 years from now, wherein anything can happen.  Perhaps we will be looking at the chances of Marcel Puyat and Miguel Tabuena more by that time.

For the ladies, if the Olympics were held today the following wold make it:

1                   Lorena Ochoa                              MEX

2                   Jiyai Shin                                        KOR

3                   Suzann Pettersen                      NOR

4                   Cristie Kerr                                    USA

5                   Yani Tseng                                     TWN

6                   Paula Creamer                            USA

7                   Angela Stanford                         USA

8                   Karrie Webb                                 AUS

9                   Ai Miyazato                                  JPN

10                 In Kyung Kim                                KOR

11                 Song-Hee Kim                             KOR

12                 Na Yeon Choi                               KOR

13                 Anna Nordqvist                          SWE

14                 Michelle Wie                                USA

15                 Eun-Hee Ji                                     KOR

16                 Catriona Matthew                     SCO

17                 Helen Alfredsson                       SWE

18                 Sakura Yokomine                       JPN

19                 Lindsey Wright                            AUS

20                 Candie Kung                                 TWN

21                 Angela Park                                  BRA

22                 Karen Stupples                           ENG

23                 Sandra Gal                                    DEU

24                 Giulia Sergas                                ITA

25                 Shanshan Feng                           CHN

26                 Janice Moodie                             SCO

27                 Minea Blomqvist                        FIN

28                 Becky Brewerton                       WAL

29                 Li-Ying Ye                                       CHN

30                 Becky Morgan                             WAL

31                 Jennifer Rosales                         PHL

32                 Alena Sharp                                  CAN

33                 Karine Icher                                  FRA

34                 Gwladys Nocera                         FRA

35                 Russy Gulyanamitta                  THA

36                 Melissa Reid                                 GBR

37                 Anja Monke                                 DEU

38                 Nicole Gergely                            AUT

39                 Azahara Munoz                          ESP

40                 Maria Iida                                      BRA

41                 Julieta Granada                           PRY

42                 Beatriz Recari                               ESP

43                 Felicity Johnson                          GBR

44                 Marianne Skarpnord                NOR

45                 Iben Tinning                                 DNK

46                 Marisa Baena                               COL

47                 Silvia Cavalleri                              ITA

48                 Ursula Wikstrom                        FIN

49                 Lee-Anne Pace                           ZAF

50                 Maria Jose Uribe                        COL

51                 Trish Johnson                              ENG

52                 Ashleigh Simon                           ZAF

53                 Hazel Kavanagh                          IRL

54                 Lisa Holm Sorensen                   DNK

55                 Sophia Sheridan                         MEX

56                 Lisa Meldrum                               CAN

57                 Marjet van der Graaff              NLD

58                 Maria Verchenova                     RUS

59                 Virada Nirapathpongporn      THA

60                 Lynnette Brooky                        NZL

Jennifer Rosales easily made the list and would be an Olympian if the games were held today.  Hopefully she will still be there 7 years from now, perhaps with other Pinoy lasses like Dottie Ardina.

Playing for one’s country is every athlete’s dream.  In golf, there is the world cup and the President’s or Ryder’s Cup to strive for.  But the mystique of the Olympics cannot be beat.  Every athlete wants to be an Olympian.  Here’s to hoping that in 2016, Filipinos will be fully represented in Olympic Golf.

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