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Zimbabwe should honour athletes

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THE inaugural Zimbabwe Golf Awards were held in Harare last week Thursday. There were a number of awards categories, but the two most notable were the golfing lifetime achievement award and the golf ambassador award.

The winners of the Lifetime Golf Achievement Awards were Roger Baylis, Tesa Covell, John Kelly, Steve Matondo, Tim Price and Anderson Rusike.

This was a fitting honour to these individuals who have given a lot of time and effort to lift the game of golf in the country.

These individuals have given a lot to the game not for financial returns, but just for the love of the game and it is befitting that they are honoured once in a while. Legend Nick Price was honoured for being the country’s international golf ambassador together with fellow yesteryear star Tony Johnstone and current PGA Tour player Brendon de Jongé.

Price is one of the sportsmen whom our country has not given due recognition for his achievements worldwide.

Price is probably the only Zimbabwean sportsperson to ever be ranked number one in the world in an individual sport.

Unlike other athletes, he did not change his nationality when others around him were doing that.

I believe as a country we need to start honouring all our sportspeople who have represented the country well and not only focus on just recognising soccer stars.

The US Open tees off this weekend at the No Two Course of the Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina. Even though Woods won’t be taking part in the action, the field is sure to deliver some entertaining golf over the tournament’s four days.

The US Open is one of the four major golf tournaments. The majors are the four most prestigious annual tournaments in professional golf, the current majors are

  • The Masters Tournament is played at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, US.
  • The US Open is hosted by the USGA and played at various locations in the United States.
  • The Open Championship is hosted by The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, and always played on a links course in the United Kingdom.
  • The PGA Championship is hosted by the Professional Golfers’ Association of America and played at various locations in the United States.
  • The top players from all over the world participate in the majors and the reputations of the greatest players in golf history are largely based on the number of major championship victories they accumulate.
  • The prize money won at majors is not the largest in golf, being surpassed by tournaments such as The Players Championship and the World Golf Championships events.

However, winning a major boosts a player’s career far more than winning any other tournament. If he is already a leading player, he will probably receive large bonuses from his sponsors and may be able to negotiate better contracts.

If he is an unknown, he will immediately be signed up. Perhaps more importantly, he will receive an exemption from the need to annually requalify for a tour card on his home tour, thus giving a tournament golfer some security in an unstable profession.

Currently, the PGA Tour gives a five-year exemption to all major winners, while the European Tour gives a ten-year
exemption.

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