Afghan golf team makes Asian Games debut

By Associated PressNovember 20, 2010, 8:22 pm

GUANGZHOU, China – For Hashmatullah Sarwaree and Ali Ahmad Fazel, hazards aren’t a major concern on the golf course. After all, their club in Kabul was cleared of land mines after the fall of the Taliban regime.

That’s probably why scores that were more than 130 strokes behind the winners in the four-round Asian Games competition weren’t a major concern for the pair from Afghanistan, who finished third-to-last and last on the lush Dragon Lake Golf Course outside of Guangzhou on Saturday.

For 10 hours a day, pretty much every day, Sarwaree drives a taxi on the chaotic streets of Kabul.

That’s only his job, though. His heart belongs to golf.

“I just like golf,” he told The Associated Press. “I want to do it all the time.”

Golf in Afghanistan is a different brand than most people are used to. First off, the greens are made of sand and oil, which actually makes them brown but keeps them from blowing away. And there’s only one course in the whole country.

“It’s totally different here,” Sarwaree said after finishing his fourth round at Guangzhou in his country’s first try at golf in the Asian Games, a regional version of the Olympics that is held once every four years. “It’s so big, and there’s grass!”

Unaccustomed to teeing off on anything but sand or gravel, Sarwaree and Fazel finished at the bottom of the rankings – Sarwaree was 73rd out of 75 men at 116 over. Fazel was last, with a 179-over par total of 467.

The winner, South Korea’s Kim Meen-whee, finished with a 15-under par 273 total, and the silver medalist, Miguel Luis Tabuena of the Philippines, shot 6-under par.

Fazel, a student, was undaunted.

“I’m satisfied with what I did,” he said, smiling broadly. “I want to be a professional golfer someday. I just want to work hard.”

Despite the glaring lack of proper training facilities, golfing in the warzone that is Afghanistan is not as much of a hardship as one might think, said national coach Mohammad Juma Herwati.

He said the only course is at the Kabul Golf Club, a 9-hole facility built about 40 years ago by the Afghan government that is a 20-minute drive from the center of town. Because Kabul is relatively safe compared with some other parts of the war-torn country, the club is fairly active and usually open.

The golf course is something of a symbol of Afghanistan’s resilience.

It was cleared of land mines several years after the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, and has been in business since.

“I play every Friday,” Herwati said. “I’ve been playing for years.”

Herwati, who learned the game in Iran and has a 4.5 handicap, said that the number of Afghan golfers is steadily growing, although he acknowledged that the people who have the time, money or interest in a nation that has a lot of other things on its mind remains tiny in the overall scheme of things.

Still, he said, Afghanistan loves sports.

“People are very enthusiastic about this game,” he said. “We have actually started down the right path. We are doing our best.”

Afghanistan has 67 athletes competing in 13 sports at the Asian Games, and has won one silver and one bronze, both in the martial art of taekwondo. Its basketball team was knocked out in the preliminary rounds earlier this week. The men’s cricket team is in with a chance of a minor medal.

Herwati said that he tries not to think too much about the lack of funds and support that his team has compared with Asian sports powerhouses like China or South Korea. Instead, he says he wants to focus on what can be done on a day-to-day basis to improve the lot of Afghan golfers.

Progress is being made.

Sarwaree, for example, said he gets a $200 a month stipend from the government for golfing. That is roughly equal to the amount he makes driving his taxi.

“We want to do something constructive,” Herwati said. “We all have to work hard. We started from zero and have moved ahead.”

Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.