Six-time Major winner Nick Faldo is turning his attention to Nepal in a bid to help young golfers from across the Himalayan region after his global golf development program made its successful debut at Siem Reap’s Angkor Golf Resort last week.
Like Cambodia, Nepal will be staging the Faldo Series Asia event for the first time. Golfers from Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Northern India benefit significantly from this unique opening.
“The inaugural Faldo Series Nepal Championship will take place at the Gokarna Forest Resort in Kathmandu from October 18 to 19,” Faldo Series CEO Tom Phillips told the Post yesterday.
Former world number one, Faldo was quoted as saying that his series “enjoyed a close relationship with golfers from the Himalayan region ever since Ziwang Gurung travelled from Bhutan to play a Faldo Series tournament in 2008.
“Incredibly, for a golfer who only has access to nine holes and had never been outside his country before, let alone in an airplane, he qualified for the Grand Final at Mission Hills in China. I hope [by] bringing the Faldo Series to Nepal, we can create more opportunity for players like Ziwang to achieve their dreams.”
Meanwhile, Phillips confirmed that the Faldo Series event is here to stay in Siem Reap for years to come.
In an exclusive chat with the Post on the final day of the Cambodian leg at the Faldo-designed Angkor Golf Resort, the CEO said one of the main objectives of the Asian tournaments was to create better access to the game for youngsters.
“Grassroots level clinics we conduct alongside these events are basically to help boys and girls, who may not have seen a golf course before or felt a club or hit a ball,” he said. “We want to dispel wrongly held notions that golf is elitist, [that] it is for the rich and famous and too expensive for average people. We want to create equal opportunity for every one of those boys and girls who want to play golf.”
“These FSA events are not about competition, they are about golfing education as much for the raw and uninitiated as it is for the talented,” added Phillips.
“I see a very bright future for Cambodian golf. I am saying this because there is so much enthusiasm. Cambodia’s Seng Vanseiha being given a special invite to play in the Asia Grand Final at the Mission Hills in Shenzhen next March should inspire a lot of young golfers.”
The Faldo Series executive also asserted that grassroots clinics will be regularly conducted in Cambodia. “I think the Angkor Golf resort is an ideal venue. They have a wonderful course and a very good team. Who knows, one day a Rory McIlroy may emerge from Cambodia.”
McIlroy, the 25-year-old Northern Ireland prodigy who is currently the world’s top player and winner of two Majors, along with women’s golf big name Yani Tseng are the greatest reference points as past winners of the Faldo Series.
To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at [email protected]