THE much troubled Malaysian Professional Golfers Association (MPGA) was firmly buried yesterday when Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek paved the way for a new professional outfit to be established with RM1.5 million grant.
For starters, RM1 million will go towards starting a golf academy, while RM500,000 will be used to kick-start at least 12 tournaments beginning next year.
"The Sports Ministry is serious about solving the problems faced by professional golfers in the country, and we will help start the ball rolling by starting a teaching academy.
"I would personally like to see at least one tournament a month, with a prize money ranging from RM100,000 to RM300,000, being played," said Ahmad Shabery at a forum attended by more than 100 golfing enthusiasts yesterday.
|Ahmad Shabery said a new professional outfit will be established with RM1.5 million grant.|
The new association, yet to be named, will be modelled along the lines of the Australian PGA.
Also, the court cases and suspension of players by the previously suspended MPGA were finally put to rest.
A council will be selected soon to run the new association for three years with the Sports Ministry having a big say on appointing the chairman.
Members will be selected from touring professionals, vocational professionals, club owners, golf industry and corporate leaders and the Sports Ministry.
"The composition of the council has a two-fold purpose. Firstly, it is to reach out to the whole golf industry and secondly, to ensure the council has no one group of people who can seize control of the new body," said ad hoc committee chairman Datuk Thomas Lee.
The proposed constitution provides for the playing and vocational professionals to have their own separate divisions run by their own councils, but supervised by the main council.
After the minister left, the floor was opened for discussion, and the gist was that the pros wanted a body which can run tournaments for them, is transparent with no politicking or people with personal interests.
The resolutions were adapted at the forum, and the ad hoc committee was dissolved.
The new committee will be appointed soon and an announcement on the playing calendar for next year will be made in December.
Formed in 1975, the MPGA has been embroiled in a bitter dispute which saw local tournaments drying up, and golf became an unpleasant four-letter word in the industry."We will have to work hard to re-establish confidence among the pros, sponsors and the golf industry, as well as the public," added Lee.
"And with the direct involvement of the Sports Ministry, which is a first itself, I am sure our task has been made much easier and pro golfers can start earning a decent income from next year onwards."