THE tourism sector is hitting up a lot of positives on the golf course, with tournaments geared towards some of the leading players in the travel industry.The latest instalment took place towards the back-end of last week, with the 21st renewal of the Baxter’s Golf Tournament, also referred to as the Canadian Travel Industry Golf Tournament, at Sandals Golf and Country Club in Upton District, St Ann.For Miguel Arthurs, the club’s general manager, the long-established endeavour is aptly described thus, “win-win”.”We get the opportunity to sell Jamaica, golf and the Sandals product,” he explains. “The travel industry professionals get to experience Jamaica, particularly as it relates to golf. When the travel pros come it enhances the tourism product, the tourism golf product and after the experience they can go back and offer it to other packages.”Kevin Percy, Jacques Gilbert, Bob Wakeford and Daniel Murray were the leading competitors in the two-day tournament, while Joe Grind DeMarinis, Enzo DeMarinis and Leo Sgovio headed the other contenders.Traditionally, there are added components to the championship, specialised segments that form part of its fundraising drive.”The tournament not just focused on the travel industry, there’s a charitable segment to it,” Arthurs outlined. “There is the Closest to the Pin, Longest Drive and Putting and Chipping contests and the competitors pay to enter these contests. The proceeds go to the Sandals Foundation.”The Ladies Closest to the Pin was won by Joanne Fillion, while Joe Grind DeMarinis took the men’s Closest to the Pin contest.Danny Murray won the men’s Longest Drive, while Sherry Scott took the women’s equivalent. Enzo de Marinis won the Putting and Chipping contest.”Those prose proceeds go directly into our junior golf program. It’s the only way to secure the program and continue the development of the youth,” Arthurs stated of the Sandals Golf and Country Club youth program.Wesley Brown, now a pro on the United States circuit and Romaine Evans, the current Caribbean amateur champion, were products of the system funded with proceeds from the yearly Travel Golf Tournaments.
His half-century was the lone bright spot in India’s loss at Dharamshala in the first ODI against Sri Lanka Sunday but the opinion is still divided on whether Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be Virat Kohli’s go-to man in the 2019 World Cup.”In my view, the 2019 World Cup is still too far right now. I think it will be foolhardy to talk about it right now. It is a long, long time in context of Indian cricket where situation changes every day. Players are judged differently after every match in our country. It will be important to see who is in form at that point of time,” spinner Harbhajan Singh told AAJ TAK-INDIA TODAY.Dhoni has scored 781 runs in 27 ODIs at an average of over 65 this year. This includes six half-centuries and a ton – the 134-run innings against England at Cuttack in January.”Yes, Dhoni is one of the best players India has seen in ODI and T20 cricket but he will have to continuously perform to remain in the reckoning. Every series from now on will be very important for him. He has to get runs and there is no better player than him if he does that. However, Virat has shown that if Dhoni remains in form then he can bring a lot to the table,” adds Harbhajan. “It is about 20 months away (2019 cricket World Cup) which is a long time. I agree with Harbhajan because we have to play not just Test but also ODI cricket abroad in the coming year, including South Africa, England, Australia and New Zealand. The overall performances would decide the final shape of Indian team for the 2019 World Cup,” says former India skipper Sourav Ganguly.advertisementDhoni’s strike rate, quite a talking point in the recent times, hasn’t dipped significantly over the past five years in ODIs. Though at 36, Dhoni is not hitting huge sixes as consistently like before but the 87-ball-65 in Dharamshala saw two hits out of the park from former skipper’s bat. He’s also just 109 runs away from completing 10,000 runs in ODI cricket.The fact that he’s still going strong makes VVS Laxman take a stand against his former India mates Ganguly and Harbhajan while discussing Dhoni’s role in the 2019 World Cup.”I believe that Dhoni would have a big role to play in the 2019 World Cup,” says Laxman.And in doing so, believes Laxman, skipper Virat Kohli will have to stand by Dhoni. “Sometimes the new skipper does not takes the advice of the old one but here is why Virat Kohli is different than the others. When you have someone of the calibre of Dhoni in your team and if you don’t handle him properly and get the best out of him, then there’s no point. When Sachin Tendulkar resigned from captaincy, Sourav Ganguly handled him well. The rapport and mutual respect between a captain and a senior player is very important so that the senior pro plays his natural game. Virat is allowing Dhoni do the same. He relies on Dhoni while captaining the team in the middle and takes his advice in the shorter format of the game so often. Virat is not at all egoistic which is so much necessary. I would like to say it again that Dhoni will have a huge role to play if India has to win the 2019 World Cup,” says a confident Laxman.