The Philippine Airlines Interclub tournament, the annual gathering of the country’s leading golfers and their opposite numbers in many parts of the world, reel off later this month in two championship courses in Davao City.
The golfing elders first take center stage with the holding of the 22nd Seniors championship February 19 to 22. Then the 62nd Men’s regular event picks it up from there February 25 to 28.
“Hosting both championships are the Apo Golf and Country Club and the Rancho Palos Verdes Golf and Country Club,” tournament committee chairman Domingo Duerme said yesterday. Duerme is also PAL senior assistant vice president for Mindanao.
“This early, I would like to welcome the participants and other guests from all over the world and wish them all the luck,” he said, adding: “On behalf of PAL, I would also like to express our thanks to officials of both clubs for graciously hosting them as well as all our sponsors.”
Duerme also said the ceremonial tee off to officially start the tournament will be on February 18 for the Seniors at Rancho Palos Verdes and February 24 for Men’s regular at Apo. “We will announce our special guests who will do the honors later on,” he said.
Solar Sports, Mizuno, MTV Philippines, Radio Mindanao Network, Business Mirror, Lifestyle (ABS-CBN cable network), Airbus and Boeing are this year’s platinum sponsors of the event that has for its theme, “You’re No. 1.”
XFM 92.3, Crossover 105.5, Bombo Radyo, People Asia, Royal Caribbean and Action Asia are the major backers. The corporate sponsors are Inquirer.net and PAGCOR. Other supporters are Century Park Hotel and Rajah Broadcasting Network.
Seventy-six teams – 32 from abroad including those from the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Australia, 19 from Luzon, 12 Visayas and 13 Mindanao – are taking part in the Men’s regular championship and 77 squads in the Seniors.
Up for grabs in both tournaments are team and individual trophies in the Championship, Founders, Sportswriters and Friendship divisions. The PAL scoring system will be used.
All eyes will be on the parbusters of Canlubang Golf and Country Club. They produced the biggest numbers in last year’s tournament in Bacolod to capture their third consecutive Men’s regular and Seniors championship trophies.
The tournament has its humble beginning in 1947 right after the Second World War when PAL was just two years old. PAL senior vice president Buenaventura M. Veloso, Col. Ramon Zosa, Ben Gaston and Leopoldo Rovira were having coffee at the office when one of them suggested: “Why not hold a club tournament with participants from different PAL destinations.”
After consuming their brew, the PAL Interclub was born with Wack Wack Golf and Country Club hosting the event from January 31 to February 1, 1947 with 100 players from six clubs – Wack Wack, Manila Golf Club, Buayas Links, Negros, Cebu and the US Army.