A Russian farce

By Tom AbbottJuly 29, 2008, 4:00 pm
Golf balls being stolen from the fairway, professional hockey players shooting 99, touring professionals pulling their own bags... just some of the delights from this year's Inteco Russian Open.
I am one of the biggest supporters of the European Tour ' as the Golf Central production team can attest ' but even I have to draw the line at the farce which unfolded at Le Meridian Moscow Country Club last week. No disrespect to Mikael Lundberg, a deserving champion, but the event was a little off the mark.
There are only 15,000 golfers in Russia, so they were always going to struggle with galleries. But even so, the turnout was rather disappointing. I saw about 10 people during our coverage on Thursday. The decision to include Evgeni Kafelnikov and Alexey Kovalev was bizarre. Maybe it attracted media attention in the home country, but when you have a good showing in the Russian Amateur surely it would merit opening up a couple more spots to golfers in the top 5 of that event?
I think the European Tour has to look at putting a bit more effort into this tournament. It's great they are branching out to developing golfing nations ' India and South Korea are both of the schedule this season ' but the tour needs to make sure they get it right. The sponsors deserve such treatment, especially when forking over a couple of million dollars. The product is on the world stage and the quality of the European Tour brand is tarnished slightly with what we saw last week.
The Ladies visit Sunningdale
The final major in womens golf plays out this week at the magnificent Sunningdale Golf Club, just west of London. Ive had the pleasure of teeing it up there on a couple of occasions and it's certainly one of my favorite lay-outs.
The clubhouse puts on a very special lunch as well, and any trip would not be complete without a visit to the restaurant. Lately, the club has become a little more showbiz than years past, as famous members and big name golfers give the place a little more glamour.
Also, its nice to see some of Britains inland gems getting a major championship. The mens Open Championship is confined to links venues, but the womens doesnt have that parameter yet. There are so many courses that fit this tournament; Id love to see the tour use them.
The Challenge Tour is in Ireland this week for the Challenge of Ireland presented by Glasson. Englishmen David Horsey and Seve Benson are 1-2 in the standings, separated by just over 1,500.

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