If one goes over the list of players who have participated in the Philippine Airlines Interclub Golf Tournament, it would be safe to conclude that the annual golfing event that had its auspicious beginnings in 1948 has lured the country’s past, present and future champions.
Here’s why: in the inaugural tournament, Wack Wack Golf and Country Club played host to five other teams: Manila Golf Club, Buayas Link, Negros Occidental, Cebu Country Club and the United States Army.
What highlighted the event was the presence of four men who conceptualized and then launched what is now generally considered as the country’s national team championship: PAL senior vice president Buenaventura Veloso, Col. Ramon Zosa, Ben Gaston and Leopoldo Rovira.
Since then, the list of the player was virtually an RP golf who’s who, starting with pioneers Johnny Cuadrado, Stewart Barnett, Sol Alcantara, Carlos Coscolluela, Mervyn Simpson, Benny Laperal and Pedro Lopez.
After that, the list just keeps on improving like wine: Luis “Golem” Silverio, Agustin Coscolluela, Jr., Manuel Rodriguez, Alex Prieto, Manuel Nieto, Alex Montelibano, Jose “Tetu” Santos, Steve Cuenca, Francis Gaston, Tommy Monotoc and Alan Gaston.
After that came Frankie Minoza, Howie Hagedorn, Felix de Leon, Emilio Tuason, Cassius Casas, Gil Ababa, Mario Manibay, Antolin Fernando, Norman Sto. Domingo, Delano Bangay, Rudy Basak, Jr., Robert Pactolerin and Nestor “Jun Jun” Plana, Jr.
The list goes on: Panchito Garcia, Jose Cedo, Jr., Dave Hernandez, Rolando Viray, Cesar Ababa, Danny Zarate, Bong Lopez, Jake Tan, Ruben Sasutil, Wigberto “Iggy” Clavecilla, Richard Singueo, Juan Miguel Rocha, Angelo Que, Jonel Ababa, Mark Fernando and Erwin Vinluan.
This year’s action starts February 19 with the staging of the 22nd Senior's championship, followed by the 62nd Men’s regular tournament February 25. The Apo Golf and Country Club and Rancho Palos Verdes Golf and Country Club of Davao are the hosts.
This year’s platinum sponsors are Solar Sports, Mizuno, MTV Philippines, Radio Mindanao Network, Business Mirror, Lifestyle (ABS-CBN cable network), Airbus and Boeing.
The major backers are XFM 92.3, Crossover 105.5, Bombo Radyo, People Asia, Royal Caribbean and Crown Asia, with Inquirer.net and PAGCOR as corporate supporters.
Completing the sponsor’s list are Century Park Hotel and Rajah Broadcasting Network.
The traditional hitting of ceremonial drives will highlight both events on February 18 in the Senior's event at Rancho Palos Verdes and February 25 at Apo for the Men’s regular.
PAL Assistant Senior VP for Mindanao Domingo Duerme is tournament chairman.
Seventy seven international teams from the United States, Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Asia and the Philippines are competing in the Senior's event and 76 in the Men’s regular. To be contested are team and individual trophies in the Championship, Founders, Sportswriters and Friendship divisions.