Both Golf & Tiger need each other

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published August 20, 2018, in the Western Mirror

Tiger Woods and Golf are mutually beneficial to each other. One gives the other peace of mind while the other brings the fans in droves.

Tiger Woods at the Masters Golf Tournament in 1997.
(Source: CNN)

The first time I saw Eldrick Tont Woods, better known as a Tiger Woods, was on a golf course via my telly in 1997. It was my first week back at school after the Easter Holidays, and by the middle of the week, something was not right with me. It turned out that after being at a church camp the week prior, I had contracted the dreaded Herpes Zoster virus, more popularly called, chickenpox. I swear on my life I never ate any chickens that week but somehow I came down with varicella. Seriously, I am just kidding about the chickens.

By the Friday of that week though, while quarantined to the living room of my parents’ house, 21-year-old Woods was creating a clangour in the professional golf world as he stormed to the top of the leaderboard at arguably golf’s most prestigious major, the Masters Tournament. Seeing Woods, the three-time defending US Amateur (1994-96) and three-time defending US Junior Amateur (1991-93) champion, at the top of the leaderboard elicited a weird but great feeling. For several years prior, through the then Johnnie Walker Golf Championship held in Jamaica, I had become a devout fan of golf. The players I had grown fond of seldom looked like me. Back then, Ernie Els, Nick Faldo, Greg Norman and Fred Couples were the players I spent hours watching and emulating. With Woods, a black golfer at the top of the leaderboard that Friday, all that was about to change. A sense of unrelenting pride bubbled in my chest while I rubbed my bump covered black skin. I was watching history in the making. The world was watching history in the making. The world was watching the Tiger Woods show. Continue reading

International Golf needs to return to Jamaica’s shores

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published January 23, 2017

Jamaica, once a mainstay on the international golf circuit, has not hosted an international golf tournament in over 20 years. International golf desperately needs to return to Jamaica’s shores if Jamaica is going to maximise its sports tourism potential.

Ernie Els (right) is seen pulling a donkey across the Tryall Golf Course at the 1994 Johnnie Walker World Golf Championship. (Photo credit: Unknown)

Ernie Els (right) is seen pulling a donkey across the Tryall Golf Course at the 1994 Johnnie Walker World Golf Championship.
(Photo credit: Unknown)

Years ago as a youngster, I watched ‘The Big Easy’ better known as Ernie Els bring his easy and laid-back style to the shores of Jamaica, in what was then, the richest golf tournament in the world, the Johnnie Walker World Golf Championship. He drove and putted his way to the 1994 World Championship title at age 25 on the fairways and greens of the Tryall Golf Club. His imposing six-foot-three-inch South African frame, almost as if still asleep, slumbered across the golf course, making ridiculous shot after ludicrous shot, as he secured his first world championship title by six strokes over Mark McCumber and former champion Nick Faldo.

In 35 events that year, across five continents, he captured five titles, 16 top-five finishes, and 19 top-10 finishes. Unsurprisingly, he was also crowned the 1994 PGA Rookie of the Year title. This white South African became a black boy’s favourite player all because he won this golf tournament in his homeland. This black boy has been hooked on golf ever since. Continue reading

TEF donates 93 million to golf

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published on January 18, 2017

Godfrey Dyer reveals that the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has contributed over 93 million Jamaican dollars to develop and sponsor golf in Jamaica over the past two years.

Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, Godfrey Dyer, is pleased with the outcome of the Jamaica Open golf tournament (Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, Godfrey Dyer, is pleased with the outcome of the Jamaica Open golf tournament
(Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

Godfrey Dyer, the chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), revealed at the 2017 Jamaica Open golf tournament at the Half Moon Golf Club that the TEF has contributed 93 million Jamaican dollars over the past two years to the development and sponsorship of golf in Jamaica.

In an exclusive interview with ZFLS, Dyer claimed that individuals have alluded in the past that the TEF has not paid enough attention to the sponsorship of golf. However, he mentioned that in the past 24 months, the TEF has assisted with the improvement of several golf courses across the island and the sponsorship of the 2017 Jamaica Open golf tournament. Continue reading

UK’s Paul Eales narrowly wins the Jamaican Open

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published on January 16, 2017

The 2017 Jamaica Open golf champion, Paul Eales hoists the sterling silver championship trophy after winning the 50th staging of the tournament by one shot over the 1993 champion Tom Gillis (Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

The 2017 Jamaica Open golf champion, Paul Eales hoists the sterling silver championship trophy after winning the 50th staging of the tournament by one shot over the 1993 champion Tom Gillis
(Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

In an exciting finish, United Kingdom’s Paul Eales won the 50th staging of Jamaica Open golf tournament by one-shot at the Half Moon Golf Course last Saturday.

Despite scoring a three over par 75 on the final day, Eales held off the persistent challenge of 1993 Jamaica Open champion Tom Gillis as the tournament went down to the last hole of the 54-hole golf tournament. Continue reading