May 25, 2008

Food Security / Tigerless Tour?…

Before I get into this week’s column, I’d just like to say that if local magazines, websites or newspapers want to mention golf courses in the same breath with ‘food security" they should either take the time to properly research their facts, or simply contact one of the local experts who would be happy to set them straight. It would make a huge difference between producing a well-balanced factual item and a sensationalist piece of garbage.

I have seen far too many stories in the local press lately which bash golf courses, mostly because one province was dumb enough to try and give the green light to develop 25 of them.

For the record, Vietnam is NOT suffering from a rice shortage and the PM addressed the distribution problem which gave the impression of a shortage and MARD (Ministry of Rural Development) claims we could have a bumper crop this year.

Also, golf courses do NOT use 1/3 MORE pesticides than a farm, unless that farm is the size of a football field. If anything the opposite is true. Golf courses have licensed experts to apply the chemicals in strictly measured doses to specific areas. Golf courses do NOT blanket spray like farmers do and most of the chemicals used on golf courses are highly diluted versions of what farmers use.

Also for the record, I am happy that the government recognized the importance of moderation and is monitoring the situation closely. I have long advocated golf courses should not be built on agricultural lands if at all possible. However, the government should give tax incentives to golf projects who will accept to build on previously despoiled land.

My only two gripes at the moment is that the government should find a way to make sure more money finds its way into the pockets of the poor rice farmers and less into hands of greedy middlemen; and that the media get their facts straight.

Ok, onwards…Annika Sorenstam announced her impending retirement at the end of this season, which is a pretty smart move when you think about it.

Let’s be honest here for a moment, it’s always better to leave on a high note than to be carried off the world stage while drooling all over your handlers and soiling your adult diapers. It’s more dignified and secondly, it leaves open the opportunity for making a comeback.

Why not a Ladies Senior Tour?

It should be mentioned that Annika doesn’t need to justify her retirement. She’s had an amazing career, an outstanding tournament record and a guaranteed place in the Golf Hall of Fame.

She has a bad back and probably wants to enjoy the well-earned fruits of her labours.

Heck, more power to her.

By the same token, Tiger Woods is recovering from his third arthroscopic operation on his knee and it does make one wonder how many years he has left as a bona fide threat to the other competitors.

No, I am not ready to write off Tiger anytime soon, but the fact remains that he’s not getting any younger and the toll on his body might reach a point where a decision will need to be made.

It’s also fun to speculate: "What would life on Tour be without Tiger?"

Well, you can be sure that Sergio Garcia would be thrilled about it as he just won a quasi-major (a wanna-be major that still isn’t) and I am sure that Ernie Els’ mental problems would surely abate as well.

In theory, Phil Mickelson should be a lot happier with a Tiger-free Tour, but since he wants to top Tiger in everything, chances are Phil would retire too, also citing knee injuries from skiing too much in the off season.

Rory Sabatini would probably try to claim that "Tiger retired because he was afraid to face him" and that would spark an announcement that Tiger will return for majors only, provided Sabatini is entered, with the condition that they always get paired together…

There is no doubt that sponsors would be crying like hell and TV ratings would drop until some young gun stepped up to fill his shoes. But it would indeed happen. Palmer begat Nicklaus, Nicklaus begat Watson, Watson begat Norman, and Norman begat Daly, and Daly begat Tiger.

Nice logical progression…we would survive.


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