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SBD Global/October 10, 2012/Events and Attractions

World Golf Finals A Chance For Turkey To Show Its Worth To The World

The man charged with overseeing the running of this week's inaugural Turkish Airlines World Golf Finals said Turkey's biggest problem is "nobody there plays golf," according to Ewan Murray of the London GUARDIAN. Retired English golfer and current Managing Dir of sports management firm ISM Chubby Chandler said, "Turkey has fantastic golf courses. The problem with Turkey is that nobody there plays golf." Turkey's current appetite for golf, however, goes "beyond a desire to see their own population play more of it." The country has a dream to host the 2020 Olympic Games, an aim it hopes "will be boosted by the handling of events such as the World Golf Finals." Turkish Airlines has duly sponsored the flights and accommodation in Antalya for selected journalists in order to "maximise coverage." The sponsors, at least, are serious about "what detractors would label merely a golfing exhibition." Turkish Airways turned to Chandler and made their multimillion pound budget plain after "drawing an initially cool response" from the European Tour. The World Finals are "not yet sanctioned by the tour." On top of six-figure appearance fees for certain members of the field, the winner will receive $1.5M, with the player finishing last still collecting $300,000. Chandler is adamant the tournament will expand over the next four years, a matter which "could prove invaluable to Turkey's Olympic dream" (GUARDIAN, 10/9).

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: In Abu Dhabi, John McAuley reported that Mena Golf Tour Chair Mohamed Juma Buamaim said he wants the tournament to have a "minimum of 10" events in the future, although admits that the recent unrest in the region "has affected plans for expansion." The Mena Tour, now in its second season, is taking place this week in Suadi Arabia where the Dirab Golf and Country Club is hosting the Dirab Golf Championship. The event forms one of six on this year's circuit, an increase of two events from the inaugural tournament last year. Organizers agree "sustaining the tour's early success is dependent on the initiative," funded by the Sheikh Maktoum Golf Federation, extending throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Developed golf nations such as Morocco and Egypt would be "obvious choices to host future tournaments." The uncertainty precipitated by the Arab Spring has "understandably stunted the Mena Tour's growth" (THE NATIONAL, 10/8).
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