Last week the Asian Tour announced it provisional schedule for the upcomming 2008 season. It offers 11 events wth US$1 million purses in addition to a greater number with purses between US$300k and US$1million. See this article if you're interested in where I will be spending '08 (I promised my mom I wouldn't play in the Pakistan Open, so that one's out): http://www.asiantour.com/story.htm?id=3056
I began training today for the qualifying tournament that begins in exactly 1 month. After a run, lower-body workout and flexability training, I began the epic search for a golf course to practice on. This crusade began in a slef-proclaimed, devoutly-religious, Muslim's taxi. After being dropped off at the base of a country club's driveway, which ascended at a 45 degree angle for what felt like miles, I made it to a course that I found out had been closed for renovations. This course was well outside civilization, where no taxi cabs ventured. I was stranded.
Before slinging my weapons over my shoulders and embarking on a pilgrammage down the mountain, I encountered a Chinese man with a relaxed and indifferant demeanor. After a few minutes of talking, the man offered to drive me to a nearby golf course. "It's lucky for you that you play golf. Otherwise you would be just another stranded tourist," he joked. Whether a dues-paying, member somewhere or not, regardless of what part of the world you are in, if you can speak that golf lingo, you're part of the club. It can be a very adventageous club to belong to.
Xiansheg Loh (Mr. Loh), the manager of a nearby furniture store, drove his new Toyota Camry north of the city. The buildings were disappearing from view, even the Petronas Towers, a marvelous sight from anywhere near the city, had vanashed from the horizon. Surrounding us were mountains, jungle and caves. We were at least 30 minutes outside the city. An unusually kind fellow member of World Golf Country Club and I, drove past monkeys headed towards another golf course. After a cell phone call, Xiansheg Loh had been told in Malay, that visitors were not allowed to play after 1:00pm.
As we discussed his golf game and Kuala Lumpur, the golf course was in sight. He finally asked me what I did for work after I had illuded to being in Malaysia for business about an hour earlier. When I told him I was a professional golfer from the United States, his excitment startled me. "I can't believe I have a pro in my car! That I am talking to a pro makes my day! Maybe you come play with my friends and I on thursday at my home club!..." He continued.
That was the begining of a day that followed with a golf course carved into the side of mountains and jungle. Monkeys came up to my "buggy," attempting to conspicuously steal a snack I was eating! The fog and clouds cut into the sides of the surrounding mountains creating thin, overhanging roofs. I hit a bunker shot where the ball used a sheer-rock cliff, as a picutesque backdrop. Those thin roofs began to open up. Sheets of water came crashing down on the lush jungle and the theiving monkeys. I welcomed the added challenge of the inclimate weather and finished my round with a majestic, towering 230 yard 4 iron. The ball landed softly next to the hole on the rain-soaked green. The rain and jungle-carved fairways didn't prove the true challenge of the afternoon.
The real test was the homeward-bound journey. But that's a story for a less occupied day.