Dubai Golf Influence Grows


That Thomas Friedman best-seller about the world being flat ' i. e. global connections crossing geographical boundaries ' is especially true in golf these days.
One of the juiciest rumors making the rounds in Europe is that Dubai could end up as the host venue for a future Ryder Cup.
The powers-that-be in Dubai now wield huge influence over the European Tour and money obviously isnt a problem..The next two scheduled European host sites will be Wales in 2010 and Gleneagles in Scotland in 2014.
But the reason Dubai probably wont get the Ryder Cup as early as 2018, according to former Euro Tour executive director Ken Schofield, is because several west European countries already have filed tender documents and are queued up and waiting with live bids.
Remember: Only Spain in 1997, of the European nations outside GB&I, has ever hosted a Ryder Cup on the other side of the pond.
What may be more relevant to this discussion, Schofield said, is the increasing influence Dubai-based concerns are wielding in connection with the ownership of flagship European venues like Turnberry. Its likely others will follow.
Which means, among other things, that we should not be surprised if Dubai money buys Loch Lomond in Scotland, currently on the market for a cool $150 million.
IMG WHIZZES: IMG, the uber golf power agency that represents Tiger, Annika, Vijay and Sergio, to name just a few, is positioning itself aggressively for the tough world economies expected in 2009 and 2010.
IMGs London-based Guy Kinnings recently told the Daily Telegraph that Tigers parting of the ways with General Motors was not a reason for concern. And a highly-placed source at IMG said that the company will not cut back in 2009 despite the dire near term predictions for the golf industry.
Instead, the source said, IMG is prepared for an increased client load in case, as anticipated by the experts, some of the smaller boutique agencies fall by the wayside.
Mark Steinberg, the head of IMGs golf division ' as is his custom ' would not comment on any specific plans.
Steinberg did say he was very proud of Tiger Woods rehab efforts so far while recuperating from knee surgery. And when asked about new IMG client Anthony Kim, Steinberg said, The kid can play.
DOUBLE JEOPARDY? Hows Stacy Lewis doing? The $160,000 she won at the U.S. Womens Open last June for tying third didnt count as official LPGA money ' because the U.S. Womens Open is not a co-sponsored LPGA event ' all of which is why shes at Q-School this week grinding for her 2009 card.
But being a non-member didnt keep Lewis from being drug-tested this year by the LPGA. In fact, her name came up twice. When I asked her about this earlier this week, she said, without complaining, I passed with flying colors.
WIN GRIPS: So many different ways to win on the PGA Tour.
For example:
  • The only two winners on the PGA Tour in 2008 who led the field in greens in regulation were Sergio Garcia at the Players Championship and Geoff Ogilvy at the WGC-CA Championship.
  • The only two winners who led the field in driving accuracy for their victorious week were Garcia, again at the Players, and Trevor Immelman at the Masters.
    (bullet) The only winner who led the field in driving distance for the week was Dustin Johnson at Turning Stone.
  • Ogilvy, again at WGC-CA, was the winner with the fewest fairways hit in regulation (44.6 percent).
  • The fewest greens hit by a winner was Padraig Harrington at the Open Championship (52.8 percent).
  • The fewest total putts by a winner was 105 shared by Parker McLachlan at Reno and Will MacKenzie at the Viking Classic.

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