2012 MENA Golf Tour

Our columnist Tom Bushell shines a spotlight on the local golf scene

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The 2012 MENA Golf Tour is well under way – it’s an impressive tour for the region and this year is heading to Saudi Arabia for the first time. When it comes to golf tours, most of us naturally think of the European Tour and the US PGA, but these smaller development tours are so important to a player who is climbing the ranks or trying to get back to their best.

Ahmed Al Musharrekh is the first Emirati golfer to turn pro, and fair play to him – it’s a big decision. When suddenly every ball you hit goes towards how much you’ll get paid that day, instead of being just a bit of fun, you can expect to have a few jitters. Ahmed did: on his opening round at his ‘home course’ at Dubai Creek, he fired a ten-over. A cold can of baked beans may well have been on the cards for dinner that night.

Yet Ahmed has plenty of talent, and once those nerves go he’ll be just fine. He’s already inspiring other Emiratis to turn pro. And why not? We have the best courses on which to practice, so we should be producing top-class golfers.

The annual Dubai Rugby Sevens tournament is on the horizon, kicked off by the recent Long Lunch launch event. At the bash I spoke to tournament director Jim Fitzsimons: as well as learning that this year’s event offers more than last (Pitch 2, for instance, will have more food and drinks facilities wrapping around the pitch on the banks), I was interested to learn that it was the Sevens World Cup in Dubai in 2009 that convinced the International Olympic Committee to make rugby sevens an Olympic sport. The IOC was impressed at how the game was run, the atmosphere and the pace. Well done, Dubai!
Tom Bushell hosts Sport On 7 on City 7 TV (Mon 8pm) and is Arabian Radio Network’s head of sport.

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