Tuesday, October 13, 2009

RM1.5 million kiss on Cheek

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.
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."

Pro golf needs kiss of life

Family joy: Ben and his father N.C. Leong posing with the Worldwide Selangor Masters trophy. in 2008. MPGA has failed to provide support to players like Ben. – Pic By S.S. KANESAN

SPORTS Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek holds the key in his keynote address today (13-10-09) to give a kiss of life to professional golf in Malaysia.
Nothing but mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is needed today from the minister to bring to life an almost dead Malaysian Professional Golfers Association (MPGA), and the ad-hoc committee are keeping their fingers crossed.
“The Sports Minister will open the forum and we hope that among others, he will pledge money from the government to kick-start the revival of the MPGA.
“We need to take a strong stand, and start afresh, the present MPGA does not have any money, assets or direction to benefit pro golfers in the country,” said The MPGA ad hoc committee chairman by Datuk Thomas Lee.
The ad-hoc committee has forwarded their suggestions to the Sports Minister and the plan is to forget all past issues, wrangles, and the dead-ends be forgotten, and MPGA starts with a fresh mandate.
All those who are interested in pro golf have been invited to attend the forum, and if the resolutions are adapted, the next step will be to is to amend MPGA's constitution, and start afresh with professionals running the show, said Lee.
Among the issues that will be discussed in the forum are to appoint, not elect the first MPGA council, to run pro golf for the first three years.
The ad-hock committee has recommended that the MPGA be run by professionals who have interest in the sport like golf clubs, equipment suppliers, professionals in the business world and playing as well as teaching professionals.
The ad hoc committee will also recommend that, since the MPGA coffers are now dry, that the government sponsors at least four tournaments, which cost RM100,000 each, to kick- start the association.
Another suggestion is that the MPGA have two divisions - one for tournament pros and the other for vocational pros. Each will have its own council, but they will be answerable to the main MPGA council.