truly at left pose with my Sir Garfield Sobers trophy with
is an old saying that Perseverance Always Pays.
It is a saying that was impressed upon me time and time again
both by my former schoolmaster, the late, revered Eugene Laurent,
and by my mother, Undine, who Anil Roberts swears is the greatest
teacher who ever walked this planet.
The truth of this saying was brought home forcibly to me two
weekends ago in Barbados.
I have been playing golf for several years. I took up the
game quite late in life. As a matter of fact, I was already
on the wrong side of 30 when I first traversed the greens.
But from the start, I fell in love with the sport and have
had many pleasurable hours since, playing on courses throughout
the Caribbean, the United States and Canada and, most recently,
in Bahrain in the Middle East.
Now, to be perfectly honest, I have never been anything more
than an average golfer. Playing once or twice a week hardly
allows you to become better than that in any case. But that
never deterred me from entering major tournaments, both at
home and abroad, whenever the opportunities presented themselves.
Since the mid-1980s, I have played in the Copa Hyatt at Cerromar
Beach in Puerto Rico, the Casa De Campo Championships in the
Dominican Republic and the Barbados Open on multitudes of
occasions. Such have been the frequency of my visits to the
Barbados Open that at last years tournament, the President
of the Barbados Golf Association described me at the Opening
Ceremony as one of the strongest supporters of Barbadian golf.
I must point out, however, that on all these occasions, I
have returned to Trinidad with both arms swinging and nothing
to show for my troubles. And those of you who play or follow
golf know that in this sport, troubles can be aplenty.
My entrance fees to these various tournaments could best be
described as they do on television on the World Poker Tour
as dead money.
But it didnt matter to me. You see, I never played golf
for the prizes but for my love of the sport and the camaraderie
and fellowship that golfers enjoy. And over the years, I have
built many lasting friendships, among them in Barbados being
Dennis and Helen Foster, Franklyn and Julia Stephenson, Richie
Alleyne, Carlsen Leacock and Orville Alleyne, all golfers
whose games are far superior to mine.
But, as the old saying goes, Perseverance always pays.
And so it was that on Sunday, April 30, 2006, at the end of
the 4th annual three-day Sir Garfield Sobers Golf Championships
in Barbados, I was crowned Net Champion of the 2nd Flight,
the 13 18 Handicap grouping.
With a three-day total of 3 over par Net, I walked away with
the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy which now proudly adorns my
living room. I also finished tied for 3rd in the Gross category
behind two fellow Trinidadians, Haroon Joseph and Keith Sirju.
On Friday, April 28, the opening day of the tournament, I
played the round of my life on the demanding Royal Westmoreland
Course, shooting 84 while only one other player in the 64-man
field was able to break 90. That score gave me the lead in
both the Gross and the Net categories, my net score being
a four under par 68. It was the first time I had ever held
the lead or even been close to the lead in an international
I believe I can safely say that my round was helped by the
fact that I was playing with three of the friendliest persons
against whom I have ever had the pleasure to compete, George
Bain of Grenada, Anthony Shaw, a Jamaican living in Barbados
and Baldath Koorasingh from T&T.
A 2nd-day 91 at the Barbados Golf Club saw me surrender the
lead to Haroon Joseph whose opening scores were 86 and 85.
I entered the final round in 2nd position, however, four shots
behind Joseph and seeking a Tiger-like charge to overtake
him on the final day. It was not to be, however, and with
both of us shooting 92 in the final round at Sandy Lane, he
claimed the Gross prize while I captured the Net title.
Winning an international tournament was enjoyable, as was
receiving the accolades of all present. My greatest pleasure,
however, was in being able to sit with Sir Garfield Sobers,
a living legend if there ever was one, and receive his congratulations.
That will remain with me for the rest of my life.
The Sir Garfield Sobers Championship is a wonderful tournament
which is played on three golf courses, the Barbados Golf Club,
the Country Club at Sandy Lane where the worlds best
golfers will assemble during the first week in December this
year to compete in the prestigious World Cup on the P.G.A.
Tour, and Royal Westmoreland which, in my opinion, is a championship
course of the highest order which compares favourably with
any other course anywhere in the world.
Dennis Foster, the Director of Golf at the Barbados Golf Club
and the main organiser of the tournament, must be complimented
for the tremendous job he did in co-ordinating the championships.
Those of us who have organised tournaments know how difficult
it can be on one course, far less on three.
This years tournament attracted 280 players, 186 of
whom were from overseas. They came from England, Ireland,
Scotland, Germany, the United States and Canada, Kenya and
Nigeria and most of the Caribbean islands. The largest contingent,
however, came from Trinidad and Tobago. There were some 96
golfers from the twin-island Republic and they did the country
proud in every category.
Chris Richards was 2nd among the Professionals. In the Mens
Championship Division, Carlos Sexy Baynes came
3rd. In the 6 12 Handicap Flight, Richard Lara was
Net Champion. Among the 13 18 Handicap players, Haroon
Joseph was 1st Gross, Keith Sirju 2nd and Neil Giuseppi tied
for 3rd with Giuseppi winning the Net Division with another
Trinidadian, Des Raghoo, coming 2nd. In the 19 24 Handicap
grouping, R. Jadhusingh won the Gross Division.
Among the Seniors, 0 12 Handicap Flight, Glen Noel
was the Net winner while in the 13 24 Handicap Division,
Dr. Keith Rowley won the Gross category while Mano Kissoon
came 2nd Net.
The final tally for the Trinidad and Tobago golfers in the
fourteen (14) categories of play was six (6) 1st place finishes,
three (3) 2nd places and two (2) 3rd places.
It was a great performance. Congratulations to all the winners.
The previous week, it had been the T & T ladies at the
St. Lucia Open. This week it was the turn of the men. Lets
see if this trend will continue in regional golf.
Now lets head for the 19th Hole.