Our man in Bahrain goes behind the scenes at this week's Volvo Golf Champions at The Royal Golf Club........
Here at the blog we always strive to bring you heart warming stories about good things happening to good people. Most certainly falling into that category is the extraordinary tale surrounding Tano Goya.
Further down this missive we told you of the unfortunate mishap which befell the Argentine in the first round when his caddy handed him the wrong ball which he played with for two holes. Noticing the error, Goya honestly called a penalty on himself which cost him four shots, two on each of the holes he had played the wrong ball.
Approaching the final hole of his second round, Goya was level par for the tournament and two shots shy of making the cut. His drive saw the ball finish in an awkward spot below his feet, leaving him the near impossible task of having to not only find the green, but also the bottom of the cup to make the weekend’s action.
Clearly the 22 year old struck a superb shot but we’ll leave you to judge just how much help he had from the man upstairs as, incredibly, the ball trundled up to the hole and dropped in for the precise eagle two he required.
“It was absolutely unbelievable,” he said. “I looked to have no chance but I hit a pretty decent shot and then I suddenly heard the crowds go mad cheering and I realised it had gone in. Maybe it was a little bit of payback for what happened on Thursday.”
As we said, it is nice to see that, sometimes, good things do happen to good people.
Drive to Succeed........
There was once a famous captain of industry who made sure that, for one day at least, he did the job of everyone in his company so he could understand what was required should he ever be questioned by any employee.
It is a theory that would have found some resonance with Per Ericsson, the President of Volvo Event Management, and the man behind the success that is the inaugural Volvo Golf Champions in Bahrain.
Because, not content with laying on a lavish dinner for the media at a city centre restaurant after the end of Thursday’s first round play, Per also took it upon himself to drive some of the media to and from the restaurant himself in one of his company’s plush courtesy cars.
It was a truly great evening which was appreciated by all the media and one which proved once again that Mr Ericsson most certainly has drive.....
Last week Padraig Harrington was, quite rightly, praised for the way he handled his disqualification from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, staunchly upholding the very rules of the game which saw his tournament end.
This week in Bahrain, it was the turn of Argentina’s Tano Goya to be roundly applauded by everyone for proving once again how much integrity is part of the game that we all love.
It is a rule of the professional game that a player must play the entire round with the same type of ball he started the round with – unwittingly, Tano failed to do that during the first round of the Volvo Golf Champions.
Having decided to change his ball on the third tee, Goya was handed one from the bag by his caddie and he completed the third hole in birdie four and the fourth hole in par. However, when he picked his ball out of the hole at the fourth, he noticed something was not quite right.
The Argentine could have quite easily slipped that ball back in his bag, said nothing, and no-one would have been any the wiser. Did he? No way. He immediately alerted Chief Referee Andy McFee who informed him it was a two shot penalty on each hole, hence the birdie four on the third became a bogey six, while the par four on the fourth became a double bogey six.
Tano might have ended the round with a three over par 75 instead of a one under par 71, but he also left with the admiration of everyone in the game.
A Vale of Cheers.........
Those of you in the know, will be aware of your correspondent’s deep love and affection for the maestros of Scottish Highland League Football, Deveronvale FC, who are based in the northern Scottish town of Banff.
It is a passion shared by many others, including celebrities such as 2005 US Open Champion Michael Campbell, who joined the supporters club in 2007 after being caught up in the whirlwind of the club’s Scottish Cup run that season which ended with a brave but valiant 1-0 defeat at home to Partick Thistle in the fourth round.
Another truism is the fact that it is a very small world indeed as we found out this week when it emerged that one of the members of The Royal Golf Club in Bahrain is none other than John Rankin, who used to be the assistant manager of Deveronvale during the heady days of their league title triumphs, but who now lives and works out here in the Kingdom.
When John was there to watch Cambo finish up pro-am, it seemed the natural thing to do to get the two of them together for a souvenir photograph. Quite simply, a little bit of Bahrain will be forever Banff.....
One of the highlights of the pre-tournament build-up was the gathering of all the top names for a picture beside one of the three mini oil wells on the golf course, each of which produce up to 150 barrels of oil a day. All the players were there, but there was some consternation when it appeared Ian Poulter was absent.
A rapid search of the clubhouse eventually found the aforementioned World Number 12 quietly zzzz-ing in the luxurious club locker-rooms, clearly exhausted after a furious morning’s tweeting.
To be fair to Poults, he rushed onto the back of a spare buggy and made the photoshoot with seconds to spare, completing an impressive line-up for the inaugural staging of this event.
So if you were wondering why the usual coiffured-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life Poulter hairdo looked a little bed-heady in the picture.....now you know.
Pray for Today............
Keeping the scoring flowing at any European Tour event can be a demanding task as there are many elements which all need to work in tandem for it to function properly. Radio connections from the far reaches of the golf course, internet connections at the venue back to base, and competency of the volunteers, all need to be in tip-top shape for it to work.
However, this week’s Volvo Golf Champions has added another task for the scoring team in Bahrain in the shape of looking after Saturday’s play where, not only will the two professionals in each group be counting their own score for the tournament itself, they will also play in the company of one amateur with two scores from each of the three balls going forward to count for a team score at that hole, leading to an overall winning team at the end of the day.
The observant amongst us here at The Royal Golf Club will have noticed that the Score Control centre for this week is positioned right next to the Prayer Centre.
I’ll leave you to do your own jokes.........