TRECE Martirez, Cavite – Under a dynamic leadership, the National Golf Association of the Philippines is enjoying unprecedented support to its programs with no less than the Royal & Ancient (R&A) – golf’s world governing body – the latest to pitch in.
Tommy Manotoc, the NGAP president for the past two years, was recently informed by the R&A of a 20,000-pound (roughly P1.5 million) yearly grant for the next three years which can be used by the NGAP for all its programs.
Dominique Wall of the R&A came to the country earlier in the year to do a personal inspection of the NGAP’s development program and had the grant approved by Duncan Weir, who informed the local golf body of the good news.
A few weeks before that, the Philippine Sports Commission, through chair Richie Garcia, also made sure that the NGAP pulls out all the stops in the country’s bid to regain lost Putra Cup glory starting on Thursday at Sherwood Hills course.
“It just warms the heart that so many people have realized the programs that we have put in place,” Manotoc said. “That (funding) is the first step to a successful program. And for our part, we must perform – starting with the Putra Cup.”
The Philippines last reigned supreme in Southeast Asia’s official team golf championship in 1996, and the PSC – together with the MVP Sports Foundation and the Philippine Golf Foundation – made sure that the NGAP would be able to get the players it needs.
Business tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan was actually the first to show interest in the improved programs of the NGAP by having his MVPSF fund all of its tournaments through the PLDT Group Amateur Tour.
The NGAP recruited Simone and Rico Hoey, Jonathan Delos Reyes and Katrina Briones from the United States to form the nucleus of the men’s and women’s squads. The PSC also footed the airfare of Jobim Carlos and Regina de Guzman – both scholars in the States – for the June 27-30 event.
Thailand is the defending men’s champion and the Philippine crew has a formidable lineup spearheaded by pint-sized Rupert Zaragosa, the recently-crowned PH Am champion.
The Philippine Olympic Committee, the Department of Tourism, Asia Brewery, the Turf Company, Sligo, Ping, Intramachineries Doosan, Suntrust, Crimson Hotel and Golf Depot are the other major backers of the 72-hole event.
Manotoc, who has drawn up tournaments for all ages and skill levels, believes that this is the best chance that the country has of ending a long drought in the event it dominated up until the 1980s.