Wednesday 10th May, 2006


Persevere .... and you will succeed

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Yours truly at left pose with my Sir Garfield Sobers trophy with Keith Sirju

There 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 year’s 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 didn’t 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 tournament.

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 world’s 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 year’s 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 Men’s 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. Let’s see if this trend will continue in regional golf.

Now let’s head for the 19th Hole.

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

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