The Philippine Airlines (PAL) Interclub, long regarded as the country’s official team golf championship, holds its 69th edition next month by going back to the island of its birth – Luzon – for the first time in ages while introducing a new division and opening its doors again to the best players in the land.
Play will be held at Mimosa’s two layouts inside Clark Field in Pampanga even as the Championship Division, won last year by Manila Southwoods, returns to its old stature as an ‘Open’ bracket where teams will not be burdened by handicaps anymore.
The likes of reigning two-time national amateur champion Jobim Carlos and many-time former winner Rupert Zaragosa will be returning to play for a Canlubang squad that breaks its long hiatus in the centerpiece division when the Regular Men’s event tees off on March 2.
Seniors action, as usual, will be taking the lid off of the event’s 30th edition on February 25 with Canlubang and Luisita renewing their storied rivalry in the event reserved for players 55 years old and above.
Carlos will be using this event as his farewell tournament before turning pro, as he plays in both the Asian Tour and the local ICTSI circuit while leading the Sugar Barons' bid for a triumphant comeback.
“I’m excited, there’s no doubt about it,” Carlos said. “The PAL Interclub has a special place in my heart because this is a tournament like no other, where team comes first before individuality. I’m looking forward to playing again.”
The PAL Interclub was first played at Wack Wack’s fabled East layout in Mandaluyong in 1948, with the home team winning.
There have been many stops in the past, but the event – which was hatched in 1947 by Leopoldo Rovira in Cebu – has treated the South as its home for close to the past 50 years, with Cebu taking its turn in hosting it last year.
From the old four divisions – Championship, Founders, Sportswriters and Friendship – a fifth bracket will be introduced, as tournament organizers will be dividing the Founders into two groups.