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New Golf Course for Uluru?

Proposed Golf Course in UluruThere is an existing proposal to open a new golf course at the Ayers Rock Resort in Uluru. The new golf course aims to attract more tourists and eventually, to boost employment in the area.

Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, the operator of the resort, already filed its application in the federal government. The proposal includes the provision of training and employment for the indigenous employees of the resort, for the building of the 28-hectare, 18-hole golf course. Currently, the resort has 170 indigenous employees and is expected to increase up to 350 employees by year 2018.

Koos Klein, Managing Director of Voyages, said, “There is not much to do there in the eye of many tourists other than visiting Uluru and Kata Tjuta [the Olgas], which for many of us should be enough, but we are talking here about the average tourist who is looking for things to do.” He also added that tourists need to visit the resort longer than the usual one-night stay to make it financially sustainable.

The site of the proposed golf course is 10 kilometers from Uluru, directly east of the resort and privately owned by Voyages. Local Communities and the Central Land Council will still be consulted even though the area does not contain any sacred site. The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities still has not made any final decision about the proposal.

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World Top Golfers Goes to Durban

2013 Volvo Golf ChampionshipCaptain Jose Maria Olazabal and the rest of the European team who won the Ryder Cup will head to Durban for the 72-hole Volvo Golf Championship from January 10 to 13, 2013. Nicolas Colsaerts, Francesco Molinari, Paul Lawrie and Thomas Bjorn complete the line-up of the team.

Defending champion Branden Grace of South Africa has already confirmed his participation in the event. The 24-year-old golfer also won this year’s European Tour defeating Ernie Els and Retief Goosen at the Fancourt Resort. He also bagged the 2012 Volvo China Open victory and currently stands number 4 in the European money list, ranking after Rory McIlroy, Peter Hanson and Justin Rose.

Grace’s fellow South Africans Goosen and Louis Oosthuizen will also be at the Durban Country Club for the said tournament. Oosthuizen is this year’s runner-up at the US Masters. Els, Darren Fichardt and Jbe’ Kruger are all expected to participate though there is no confirmation yet as of this writing.

Volvo Golf Championship is open only for this year’s European Tour winners as well as professional golfers who have won more than ten European Tour events according to Volvo Events Management President Per Ericsson.

Colin Montgomerie, former Ryder Captain, and English golfer Paul Casey have both confirmed their participation. However, defending Nedbank Golf Challenge winner Lee Westwood already declined the invitation due to a family commitment.

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Westwood, Oosthuizen Co-Lead the WGC-HSBC Championship

Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen shared the top spot in the final round of the WGC-HSBC Champions Tournament held in Shenzhen, China. Westwood shot three birdies, no bogey and a score of 30, 18-under early on of the game putting him on tie with the then waiting Oosthuizen who carved an overnight lead of five shots, scoring at 70.

Westwood admitted enjoying his Asian trips at the last quarter of the year. He said, “It’s generally pretty hot here and it was quite steamy out there today. But obviously the conditions here suit me with the grasses and the style of golf courses. And I have always been a middle-to-the-end-of year good player.” He grinningly added, “Other than that, the reason for playing well … must be the grain or rice or something like that.” The English golfer also putted few 20-foot birdies after being criticized for not putting well in the recent Major tournaments.

Oosthuizen, on the other hand, played the first two rounds explosively but was not able to sustain the momentum on the latter part. “It was frustrating. Early on I didn’t play really well and then I started to find a little bit of form on the back nine but just didn’t make any putts. I missed two six footers for birdie and one of them I didn’t hit a good putt. It was frustrating seeing all the other low ones out there,” says the South African golfer.

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Tiger Woods: “Getting back to No. 1 will take time.”

Two years after losing the world number 1 title, Tiger Woods admits that getting back the number 1 rank may take some time. The title is currently held by Rory McIlroy after winning the USPGA championship plus other consecutive winning tournaments in the FedEx Cup.

Woods admitted that he’s got to win to hold the title back. He said, “Rory is playing a lot of events, and so am I, toward the beginning of the year. It’s about winning golf tournaments. That’s how I got to No. 1, that’s how Rory got to No. 1. You’ve got to win golf tournaments, and when you don’t, you’ve got to be consistent and finish high. I’m looking forward to that.”

Though Woods won three US tournaments this year, his trademark of winning consistently was hardly seen. “Things are progressing nicely. Last year I was 127th on the money list, this year I was second. So I think that’s pretty good improvement in a year. And given that I’m healthy, I’m really looking forward to next year,” he shared.

McIlroy is the first rightful competitor of Woods who is more than 13 years younger. Woods said that time will only tell if the golfer from Northern Ireland is the best opponent he ever had. “Trust me, I’ve played against a lot of guys over the years that have been really good. All these guys have won two to four major championships during the time that I’ve been on tour. And Rory has too, but he’s still young. He’s only 23 years old. Let him grow, let him develop over the next decade. He’s still learning how to play the game. He’s only going to get better with age,” he said.

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Inbee Park Tops LPGA’s Taiwan Championship

Inbee ParkSouth Korean golfer Inbee Park secured the lead in the first round of the Taiwan Championship after scoring with a 7-under 65 with two strokes away from the local athlete, Yani Tseng. Seven holes of the Sunrise Golf and Country Club were all birdied by Park who is also the top-ranking candidate for the LPGA Tour Player of the Year. Tseng, the tournament’s defending champion, completed the first round with six birdies and one bogey.

Park has been landing in the top three of the past six consecutive tournaments she has been into. She won two of them that put her in the top spot of the tour money list. She shared that her improved skills and calm winds contributed to her victory. “We were expecting a lot of wind and I was prepared for it. But today it was really calm and a very nice day. Last year I wasn’t hitting the ball as solid as this year, and my ball-striking skills have improved.”

Tseng, however, garnered most of the audience’s attention, being the one of the few superstars in the country’s field of sports. “I know everyone is talking about the pressure this week. When I see all the fans, I think that pressure is gone because I know it doesn’t matter how I play, they’re still going to be there to give me 100 percent support,” Tseng said. She also admitted that bogeying hole number 10 made her a “little mad” in the course.

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Tommy Gainey Wins at the McGladrey Classic

tommy gaineyAmerican golfer Tommy Gainey bagged his first PGA tour title after winning the McGladrey Classic. It was indeed a remarkable victory for Gainey who started the final round at the 29th place with a tie and a score of 6-under-par, 7 shots behind the two leading players, Davis Love and Jim Furyk.

Gainey closed the event with a final score of 60. He could have made it 59 had he not missed his birdie shot at the 18th hole. He birdie putted the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 9th holes but had struggles on the back nine. Though he also birdied the 11th, 13th and 14th holes, he was holed in a greenside bunker on the par-5, 15th hole. However, he immediately recovered by again, another birdie on the 16th hole.

During the interview, he said, “I wasn’t thinking about 59. All I did all day was just try to make birdies and a lot of birdies because when you’re seven shots back, your chances of winning a PGA Tour, especially with the leaders, Davis Love III and Jim Furyk, it don’t bide in your favor, man.”

Taking a peek at Gainey’s bag, most of his golf equipment is from Callaway. He used the 10.5-degree Callaway RAZR Fit Driver, a 15-degree Callaway FT-I Tour Fairway Wood, a 4-PW Calalway RZR X Forged Irons, Forged 50-, 54-, and 60-degree wedges by Callaway, Backstryke Blade Putter by Odyssey and HEX Black Tour Golf Balls, also by Callaway.

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Volvo World Match Play Will be in Bulgaria

2013 volvo world match playNext year’s Volvo World Match Play Championship of the European Tour will be held for the first time in Bulgaria. The tournament scheduled on May 16-19, 2013 will be held at the Thracian Cliffs. This golf course was designed by Gary Player and is situated beside the Black Sea.

The Volvo World Match Play took place at Wentworth from 1964 to 2007 and shifted to Finca Cortesin, Spain about three years ago. Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts won the past two tournaments where the number of competitors also increased into 24 players.

“We are delighted to be working with the Bulgarian Government and the Bulgarian Golf Association and are thrilled that they have committed their support to this prestigious and historic championship,” says Per Ericsson. He is the president of Volvo event management.

Ericsson also added, “We will announce future venues in due course and while our focus is firmly on delivering a magnificent 2013 championship as our inaugural event at Thracian Cliffs, we then plan to rotate the Volvo World Match Play Championship between a few very special venues around the world,”

Boyko Borissov, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, is very excited that the European tournament is about to happen in his country. He said, “This is a real coup for Bulgaria being chosen to host such a prestigious international tournament with a rich heritage and sporting traditions. The vast media coverage will deliver a reputable boost for Bulgaria and our tourism industry. The recent growth of golf in our country will have the opportunity to be showcased around the world.”

Colsaerts said, “I’ve never been to Bulgaria, but I’ve heard great things about the country and Thracian Cliffs and I can’t wait to defend my title there in May next year.” Holding the record of 2011 Volvo China Open and 2012 Volvo World Match Play Championships, he looks forward to winning the 2013 event as well.

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Morrison and Ramsay Shared Lead in the Indian Open

2012 indian openJames Morrison of England and Richie Ramsay from Scotland tied in the first place in the opening game of the Indian Open at the Asian PGA Tour. Both of them scored five-under-par 66 on the first round of the $1.25 million event held at the Karnataka Golf Association course and won by a single shot against India’s Shiv Kapur and six other players at 67.

Tied at the second spot were Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat and Chapchai Nirat, Finland’s Kalle Samooja and Jaakko Makitalo, Myanmar’s Zaw Moe and Javi Colomo of Spain. Moe held the lead spot most of the game after shooting consecutive eagles at the 11th and 12th holes until he shot double bogeys on the par-3 8th hole.

Ramsay won the Asian and European Tours sanctioned event, the European Masters held last September. He played better late in the afternoon when the wind started to blow heavily. He shot four birdies while doing his homeward nine. “I kept it going on the front nine and played lovely on the back. I hit it nicely on the last few holes but couldn’t make my putts. As long as you are hitting fairways, there are a lot of chances out there,” Ramsay said.

Morrison, on the other hand, birdied the 4th hole and eagled the par five 5th hole with a big 30-foot putt. He again had another birdie shot at the 6th hole. “I kept out of the rough and found most of the fairways. The course was brilliant and I like this kind of an old-style course, which is tree-lined and challenging,” he said with delight.

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Ernie Els Suffers from Ankle Injury

ernie els injuredWhether he likes it or not, The Open champion Ernie Els cannot join the PGA Grand Slam of Golf set to happen at the Port Royal Golf Club in Bermuda. The South African golfer is suffering from an injured ankle and will be replaced by Padraig Harrington for the 36-hole game.

This is sad news for the event’s organizers since PGA Champion Rory McIlroy already announced that he will not be joining the Grand Slam but instead, will play in the BMW Masters to be held in Shanghai. Keegan Bradley, last year’s PGA champion, is replacing McIlroy and will compete against Harrington, Masters champ Bubba Watson and US Open winner Webb Simpson.

Els shared that though his injury was not that bad, he was medically advised not to play in Bermuda. He said, “I am bitterly disappointed. It is a great reward for winning a major and something I have enjoyed in the past and was looking forward to again. Unfortunately I sprained my left ankle a few days ago and while it isn’t too serious and should recover relatively quickly, I have been advised not to try and play on it.”

Harrington, on the other hand, shared, “While my entry is under unique circumstances, I am excited to compete in the event again. I came close the last two times I was there, losing in play-offs to Angel Cabrera in 2007 and Jim Furyk in 2008, so maybe the third time will be a charm.”

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No Assurance yet for Ryan Fox in the PGA Tour

ryan foxRyan Fox still cannot rest assured that he will qualify in the PGA Tour. He must fight for it and make low scores in the final round of the tour’s qualifying games in Nevada.

Ryan is currently the leading golf professional in the NZPGA Order of Merit. He was able to win three titles as a rookie in the professional league.

The 25-year-old son of Grant Fox is currently tied at the 28th place. He scored 71, 72 and 71, and totaled two under par in the different rounds of golf games at the Dayton Valley Golf Club. He can proceed to the second stage of the qualifying event if he can be among the top 19 after the final round. He will be meeting Nathan Tyler, Nick Delio and Gregor Main at the finals, behind with eight shots.

“The first round was tough. It was windy and I was still pretty sick with a stomach bug. Two mistakes cost me a good score. I had a double and a triple but the rest of the round was very good. The second round was a bit of an adventure. I made a few really good pars to keep a good round going but made two mistakes coming in again to shoot even,” he said.

“The third round today was really solid. My ball striking was very good but I just had a cold putter. I have at least kept myself in the tournament and if I can get a good score going tomorrow I have a good chance to get through,” Ryan added.

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