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  • LIKE several of my friends, I have also become practically a tournament golfer.  Meaning, I now play mainly in tournaments.  Things change, indeed.  Habits, too.

    Even invites to tournaments, I do not immediately accept now. Reputation of the tournament and its host, and the location of the event’s venue now play key roles.

    If I like the inviter, I immediately say, yes—even if his tournament’s venue is that far.  But if I feel not too comfortable with the host, I beg off—politely, of course.

    Of course, there will always be must-attend tournaments.  One of them is the Tanduay Cup, which is held in honor of Tanduay’s distinguished chairman and CEO, Dr. Lucio C. Tan.

    Because I am a history-lover, I will never miss this as I had played in its smashingly-successful inaugurals in 2014.

    That is why when Gerard Cantada, the tournament chairman, sent me an invite again months back, I immediately said yes.

    “Again, you are among the very firsts to be invited,” Gerard said.  “And no less than Bong made sure that you be invited ASAP.”

    Bong, of course, is Lucio Tan Jr., the president of Tanduay Distillers Inc. who once managed the successful Tanduay basketball team in the Philippine Basketball Association.  Bong’s love for golf is as passionate as his Dad; Dr. Tan plays 9 holes almost everyday at Wack Wack, the venue of Tanduay Cup.

    Bong has put up the Tanduay Cup in recognition of his Dad’s immense success to transform Tanduay into the country’s No. 1 rum the last 30 years or so.

    Tanduay has become a global rum brand, winning consistent awards in numerous universal contests.

    “Since my father acquired Tanduay in 1988, we have grown to be the most loved brand by Filipinos nationwide,” said Bong. “This annual fellowship is one way to recognize all the hard work my father has done for the company.”

    As usual, Cantada, himself a former world junior golf champion, said System 36 will be used for the event culminating in a dinner-awards ceremony featuring a truckload of prizes from Usana and tickets from PAL, among many other raffles and giveaways.

    “Golf is one way to spend quality time with friends,” Bong said.  “We never fail to say ‘thank you’ to all our friends and allies.”

    I like Bong—and Gerard—that’s why I will play, come hell or high water.

     

    *   *   *   *   *   *   *

    A salute to the Olympic movement

    HERE’S a glass to all the officials of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).  They deserve praise and adulation for their love of mankind.

    You know why?

    When our own Filipino athletes show up in the opening of the Rio Olympics in Brazil, they will be marching alongside a special delegation composed of competitors from different countries.

    It would surely be a rare honor to be on the same stage with them, a moment not only brimming with pride but also totally tinged with emotions.  I guess I will shed tears myself just watching the proceedings on TV.  For these rare breed of Olympians, they’d be doing a huge stride for mankind.

    This contingent will be composed of refugees displaced by war and violence in the Middle East and Africa.  They belong from millions fleeing their conflict-torn homelands, barely surviving deadly crossings of treacherous seas in daring escapes seen only in the movies.

    Their Olympic participation is a sterling triumph of humankind over adversity amid torturous odds. It is also proof of our resolve to keep the flame of friendly competition a-lit—pushing for the eternal power of sports to defeat evil minds at all costs.

    So that if there is one move by the IOC to honor man’s undying spirit to compete in combat minus weapons that maim and kill, this should be it.  Compellingly poignant.

    Initially, 43 hopefuls aged from 17 to 30 are undergoing tryouts.  According to the Associated Press, they include a teenage girl swimmer from Syria, long-distance runners from South Sudan, and judo and taekwondo competitors from Congo, Iran and Iraq.

    The team will march along with the 206 delegation-countries on August 5 into the Maracana Stadium.  Representing no country, they will be called the “Refugee Olympic Athletes,” and will walk behind the white flag with the five Olympic rings—just ahead of the team of host Brazil.

    The IOC will spend for everything—from their training to their stay at the Olympic Village during the Games.  They will be supplied with uniforms, coaches and technical officials.  Should one win a gold medal, the Olympic anthem will be played.

    “We want to send a message of hope to all the refugees of the world,” said Thomas Bach, the IOC president.

    For once, the Olympic movement has become relevant.  Very relevant, indeed.

    This is one shining moment for man’s inherent love for sports—and to all its other adherents just merely wanting to compete in devotion to the Olympic movement.

     

    *   *   *   *  *   *

    Pacquiao loses Nike but other sponsors are just as interested

    THE ballpark figure lost might run to millions of dollars.

    That’s the loud ledger for Manny Pacquiao when Nike dropped the 8-division world boxing champion from its roster of endorsers.

    If you say dollars in this country, the greenback immediately conjures bundles of bills when converted into pesos.

    A mere mention of thousands of dollars could mean a million pesos or more, making the beneficiary an instant millionaire in this benighted land of ours.

    To the uninitiated, most sporting celebrities draw their fortune from product endorsements.  In most times, their winnings pale in comparison to the amount of money they earn from sponsorship revenues.

    Pacquiao is no exception.

    Although he dismissed Nike’s move to dump him as not “unexpected” since his contract, he said, had already expired, its impact still gnaws at the ego.

    One just doesn’t do that to a guy with world stature like Pacquiao, whose face had been the face of world sports for quite some time in the not-so-distant past.

    To this day, Pacquiao is more popular worldwide than, say, President Aquino.  Nobody knows P-Noy in Mozambique but Pacquiao is a revered poster boy there.

    Nobody’s blaming Nike for its move, rather stunning though and a bit baffling in a sense when it called Pacquiao’s anti-gay remarks as “abhorrent.”

    That “abhorrent” thing was uncalled for and smacked of brutal arrogance against one loyal and a world-respected ally in Pacquiao, who had carried the Nike brand for so long and—take this—had profoundly brought wads of wealth to the shoe company’s owners.  Are they gay, or something?

    Why Nike had to resort to hurling hurtful words in bidding a sad farewell to someone with whom it had done decent deals anyway was simply gross and below the belt.

    But, yes, sulk not Manny.

    Stand your ground.

    Walk the old, usual, roads chin up.

    It is not the end of the world.

    Before you know it, Nike’s rivals are now busy preparing an entirely new game plan, each one wanting, dying, to do business with you.  If they are itching to be by your doorstep any minute now, no surprise there.

    UA (Under Armour) has world No. 1 golfer Jordan Spieth in its fold, plus reigning NBA star Steph Curry.

    Why, adding Pacquiao under UA’s wings representing boxing looks fine by me.

    My commission, Manny?  Ah, please give it to charity.

    *   *   *   *   *   *

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