The decision to select the female Guyana Open golf champion from net scores is extremely distasteful and leads to the belief that nepotistic tendencies have infiltrated even Guyana’s most prestigious sport.
For many years this tournament has rewarded the best golfers in both the male and female categories. This means that gross scores (without handicap) were always used to decide the winners. So it seems rather strange that a decision was made this year to change only the female portion of it.
Why did the executives leave the male division unchanged? Why the double standards? Why the need to make it solely a net tournament for the females in the first place? Almost every other local golf competition rewards outstanding net (with handicaps) performances.
And given that our country has an amateur field of players with varying handicaps (better players get lower handicaps); it makes for a level playing field all other times, but the Guyana Open has always been about prestige and has always rewarded greatness.
To have donned the blue jacket under Banks DIH (past sponsor) and now the red under Digicel has always produced a euphoric setting. Maybe that is why people have travelled from different countries for a chance at the coveted prizes in both the male and female divisions.
So it bemuses me to understand the rationale behind this decision? Were they (the executives) trying to level the playing field? Where is the justification in that?
Christine Sukhram (nine-handicap) without a doubt is the best female golfer this country has produced in the last decade and she has merited winning the tournament multiple times. So is it fair to assume that a changing of the guard was high on the agenda?
How can the executives argue themselves out of this quagmire when two high ranking members have daughters involved? Golfers Joaan Deo (20-handicap) and Shanella Webster (22-handicap) are daughters of the club captain and the club’s vice president respectively. Was this a move to have one of the girls win the tournament or at least give them a fighting chance?
Both young ladies are worthy players, but none is at the level of Sukhram and none (at this stage in their game) can beat her in a gross tournament. Although congratulations are in order for Deo in winning the 2014 tournament, if we had used last year’s format, Sukhram would have been crowned champion, owing to her superior gross score.
Even if levelling the field was not the motive for change, and another logical reason can be conjured, though this seems highly unlikely, these decision makers must be cognisant that any strange move would come under the microscope and that the general public would scrutinise such.
This change, in all fairness, has relegated the stature of the female jacket. In moving forward, the golf club executives need to make decisions that can positively impact the sport, if they do intend to level the playing field, for the most prestigious event on the golf calendar, then do so for both males and females and seek broader consensus.
Don’t do it for personal reasons, and better yet don’t place yourself in positions that would demerit all that you have achieved.
Sep 18, 2018Story and photos by Zaheer Mohamed A well complied century by wicket-keeper batsman Kemol Savory backed up by a decent bowling performance handed last year’s finalist Essequibo a 90-run victory...
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