Pros on hold for golf open
SCRAP THE PROS from the field of Barbados’ best golfers.
Well, for now at least.
The professional flight, which made its debut at last year’s 30th anniversary, won’t be returning for this Massy United Insurance Barbados Open as the Barbados Golf Association (BGA) looks to assess the best way to have pro players participating in the tournament.
BGA president Cally Boyea revealed the move during yesterday’s media conference announcing Massy United Insurance as the new title sponsors.
“We need time to identify and attract the true professionals [because] to get the right pro to come here they need to be paid and they need to be paid a lot of money,” explained Boyea, who is in his first year at the helm.
“We have to do this right, but it is important that we have that level of player in Barbados to stimulate the competition and to give our young players a level at which they need to strive for.
“While our major focus is to embrace and bolster our youth programme, we recognise the benefits of having these professionals play in Barbados and the mentoring such players can provide for our youth.
“So we want to review this professional division and we hope that with the support of our sponsors we will be in a position to bring it back, maybe as soon as next year,” he added.
It was a huge innovation to feature the Open’s 30th anniversary, with eventual winner Chris Richards of Trinidad and nine other pros competing in a novel professional flight.
But the tournament is still expected to attract huge overseas numbers, including players from as far as North America and Europe, as last year’s Open featured competitors from Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Guyana, St Lucia, Guadeloupe, Antigua, St Vincent, the US Virgin Islands, Canada, England and the United States.
And it won’t be wanting for quality either, considering reigning 12-time champ James Johnson will be headlining a star-studded 50-man championship flight that comprises of top local golfers Marcus Clarke, Julian Jordan, Donald Leacock, Tom Scoffield and Scott Stollmeyer.
“This time of year is always exciting for me because I not only see this as an opportunity to win another national title, but to represent the sport of golf as best as I can,” said Johnson.
“We’ve just come off playing the Caribbean Golf Championships in Puerto Rico at the beginning of August so all of our island’s best amateur golfers are preparing for this. Everyone is ready for this event and is equally as excited about trying to win it.”
The Open, slated to run from September 19 to 21, will see some 150 players competing at the three venues: Durants, Apes Hill and Royal Westmoreland. However, the championship flight will be held exclusively at Royal Westmoreland.