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Gentleman’s game

Julius Manicad

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I have been playing golf regularly the past couple of months and one of the lessons I picked up in my new sport is that it is a gentleman’s game.

More than serving as poetry in motion with that smooth swing and picture-perfect follow through in every drive, golf will really test your resolve, especially when things — and your scores — are going wrong.

It is a rollercoaster of emotions.

You may find yourself celebrating after a long, beautiful putt only to crash in the following hole as soon as you see your ball going straight into water hazard.

But as seasoned golfers would say: Never lose your composure.

Whatever happens, always stay focused — both on your shots and on your scores.

If it’s a double bogey, it’s a double bogey. No excuses. You have to accept it and move on to the next hole like a true gentleman.

You would rather lose with dignity than win through cheating.

That’s why I find it odd to learn that the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) group are looking into a so-called golf tournament organized by the Alabang Club 515 at the posh Alabang Country Club (ACC) on 28 and 29 August.

Sure, there are a lot of club-organized golf tourneys like the Golden Tee, Bill Shaw and Mango Tee, but I believe the 14th Pemcor Cup, as what the Club 515 event was called, doesn’t share any similarity since it was done amid the coronavirus pandemic.

I obtained a copy of the club’s letter to other ACC members and I can say that what they did was not an official tournament but was just a mere fun game, similar to what me and my golf buddies do every Sunday.

There was clearly no breach of health and safety protocols since golf is one of the physical activities allowed under the general community quarantine.

For one, Club 515 members didn’t block off their preferred schedule and play simultaneously like what ordinary golf tournaments do. Since not everybody got their slots, some 56 players teed off on Saturday while 20 other golfers played the day before.

Yes, they took photos without their masks, but I don’t see anything wrong with that. After all, that’s also what we usually do before we tee off; we remove our masks and show our pearly whites in front of the camera for our wives to recognize us and know that that we are playing golf and not somewhere else.

Everybody was wearing masks during flights.

In fact, marshals were said to be going around, making sure that everybody was observing health and safety protocols. Fortunately, no member of the club was cited for any violation while playing.

Club 515 members also maintained their social distancing.

Although a club member was celebrating his birthday on that day, there was no party or catered food as he just placed packed lunches in the veranda for his friends to pick up before hopping into their cars.

The most they did was a virtual party.

Again, it was attended by only 10 people with the rest — all 46 of them — joining the celebration through Zoom application.

Honestly, I don’t see the Pemcor Cup as a violation.

Instead, of trying to play the role of a policeman, the IATF and JAO group should carefully review their policies and clearly define an official tournament from a fun game.

Unlike contact sports like basketball, volleyball, football or boxing, golf is being played in open spaces with maximum social distancing in every flight. It can be played even with masks on and without touching anything other than the ball and your clubs.

As I’ve said, golf is a gentleman’s game.

I believe members of Club 515 are all gentlemen and will not risk their statures — and their lives — just to hold an unlawful tournament.

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