Belek, in the Antalya region of Turkey, to host IGTM 2011

Belek, in the Antalya region of Turkey, to host International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) 2011
Belek, in the Antalya region of Turkey, to host International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) 2011

International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) has announced that Belek, in the Antalya region of Turkey, will host the 14th edition of the world’s premier global event for golf tourism suppliers, buyers and media, from November 14-17, 2011.

Belek, one of the fastest growing and most successful golf destinations in the world, close to the cosmopolitan city of Antalya on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, boasts 14 world-class golf venues, featuring signature designed golf courses by Sir Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie, among others, plus a wealth of high quality hotels.

Öner Uygun of Millennium Golf, commented: “We are delighted to be selected as the host of IGTM, which is a globally important event, and look forward to welcoming the industry’s leading golf tourism suppliers, buyers, official dignitaries and media from across the globe to Belek and Antalya.

“Since the opening of Belek’s first golf course, The National Golf Course, and the establishment of the Turkish Golf Association, in the early 1990s, Belek has benefited from huge investment with 14 top golf courses attracting a large and growing number of international visitors. In 2009, 349,000 rounds of golf were played, while 400,000 rounds were played in the first ten months of 2010.

Belek, on the Mediterranean coast, just 30 kilometres from Antalya airport, is at the heart of Turkish golf. The hotels are all 4 and 5-star standard and offer an excellent range of leisure facilities, with plenty to explore in the surrounding area.

“The climate has proven to be a clear attraction to Turkey, with people first visiting the country for its sun, sand and sea, as well as its historical and cultural appeal,” added Öner Uygun. “With the added benefits of high standards of service and accommodation, good value for money, and of course, a fantastic range of international standard golf courses, we are confident that visitors to Turkey and next year’s IGTM will have a great experience.”

Mark Walsh, Group Exhibition Director of Reed Travel Exhibitions, said: “Turkey, the 2008 IAGTO Best Golf Destination winner, and Belek Antalya, in particular, has enjoyed spectacular recent success and now is the right time to host the world’s largest gathering of golf tourism professionals in this exciting destination.

“The quality of the golf courses and resorts in Belek is outstanding, and combined with an excellent conference facility, The Antalya Expo Centre, we have all the necessary logistics to make IGTM 2011 a global success.”

Antalya boasts the world’s 26th busiest international airport with nearly 10 million passengers in 2010, an increase of more than 23% year-on-year.

IGTM will take place November 14-17, 2011, the week after the World Travel Market, London, also a Reed Travel Exhibitions event.

For more information about IGTM, please visit: www.igtm.co.uk

Seve Ballesteros sets his sights on St Andrews

seve ballesteros
seve ballesteros

Seve Ballesteros is among 32 former champions who have been invited to take part in a four hole tournament as part of the 150th Open anniversary celebrations on the eve of the Championship proper.

Ballesteros who has made a remarkable recovery from the four operations to remove a brain tumor diagnosed in 2008, stated last year that he would love to make a return to the British Open that takes place this year at St Andrews, in July.

Among the other former champions who have been invited to take place in the four hole tournament are Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Nick Faldo.

The tournament will take place on the first, second, 17th and 18th holes on the old course on July 14th. Ballesteros won the second of his three Open Championships on the St Andrews course in 1984.

Spanish Golf Federation president Gonzaga Escauriaza said that Ballesteros is doing well , he started playing again last summer but radiotherapy and chemotherapy had weakened him. Now he his getting better and better and would love to be on the first tee for the four hole tournament, adding “He will probably be there.”

Nick Faldo keen on second Ryder Cup chance

Nick Faldo has revealed that he would love another opportunity to captain Europe’s Ryder Cup team. Under his leadership, the European team lost for the first time since 1999 earlier this year, but the Englishman says that he would happily ‘do it again’.

Nick Faldo’s team were quite comfortable losers to an American side captained by Paul Azinger as they went down 16.5 – 11.5 in Valhalla. During and after the tournament, Nick Faldo received lots of criticism for the way he handled being in such an important role.

Despite this though, the 51-year-old wouldn’t hesitate to accept the role once more should it come his way, saying that ‘the buzz’ of being in the team room was something he considered ‘really special’.

I guess that this is no real surprise really, Nick Faldo does has been heavily involved in the Ryder Cup over his career as a professional golfer and perhaps he isn’t ready to let it go quite yet. He admits that he ‘loved every minute’, after all.

The golf odds probably won’t favour Nick Faldo retaining the captaincy though. It is quite rare that someone stays on in the role two years later, especially after a defeat that received heavy criticism in the press.

There is part of me that thinks Nick Faldo would do a lot, lot better should he for fill the position once again. It was argued that he was out of his depth in such a high-profile role and this may have been the case. However, he would have learnt so many lessons from his mistakes. Maybe he would come back fighting with an improved strategy?

This whole situation is probably not going to go any further than speculation in all honesty. I just can’t see it happening. Yes, it is encouraging that he is keen on continuing in the role, but if he had said ‘no, don’t fancy it’, he would have been admitting some wrong doing last time around and this isn’t something Nick Faldo likes to do.

USA win 37th Ryder Cup at Valhalla, Kentucky

The result of the 37th Ryder Cup at Valhalla Course, Kentucky:
USA
16½ Europe 11½

Paul Azinger done a first class job as USA Team Captain in bonding a team of underdogs as they squared up and ultimately beat a very strong 12 man European team.

Azinger had requested that the Valhalla course in Kentucky be ‘easy to play’, allowing for high quality golf and plenty of birdies.  Prasie should be given for this move as it certainly allowed for golf of the highest quality to be played by both sides.

USA led from day one and as with recent Ryder Cup matches, the crowd were “up for it”.  Football-style chanting, a bit of sledging and a little over excitement from certain players helped create a magnificent sporting event. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the three day event and absolutely gobsmacked at the sublime level of the golf played by both sides.

The first two days included Foursome and Fourball matches, and for me it was Phil Mickelson for the USA and Ian Poulter for Europe that stood out above the rest.

At one point Mickleson played an absolutely peach of a shot from the edge of a green when he took a full swing with a lob wedge.  The ball just rolled past the hole after hurtling towards space for what seemed like a shocking 10 minutes or so.  And Ian Poulter silenced any critics over his captain’s pick by winning 4 points in 5 matches, and in doing so being the best European player throughout the entire weekend.

Local Kentucky heroes J.B. Holmes and veteran Kenny Perry received fanatical support playing in their first Ryder Cup, but it was the country boy from Florida, Boo Weekley who got the most rauchous cheers of “Booooo” and “Boo S A!”.

Weekely started in high spirits, riding his club down the 1st fairway in a mock Kentucky Derby fashion to stir up the USA support got things off to a great start, though Lee Westwood suggested this was disrespectful and earned an apology from Weekley the following day.  This outburst may well have been the reason for Lee Westwood suffering personal abuse all the way round the course.  Westwood said after the defeat that the excitement of the crowd adds to the Ryder Cup but personal insults directed at his mother are not acceptable.

The European team trailed by just two points heading into the third and final day with 12 Singles matches to make up the deficit and set a new record of four Ryder Cup wins in a row.  Eyebrows were raised when the European Singles order was announced as Europe Captain Nick Faldo was criticised for supposedly sending his ‘big guns’ out last.

Afterwards Nick Faldo was gratious in defeat and said the plan had failed by one match.  He felt if Europe could go into the last four games level, then Europe would finish the stronger; and I agree.  But for everyone to challenge Faldo when he sent Sergio Garcia out first is over the top.  The truth of the matter is that Europe’s so-called ‘big guns’ – Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood simply didn’t perform over the whole three days; and it was left to Ian Poulter and rookies such as Graeme McDowell and Justin Rose to fight the European challenge.

In fact, if Sergio Garcia had beaten Anthony Kim in the opening match, then things would have certainly panned out completely differently.  As it was, Garcia had his ass whipped by young rookie Anthony Kim in a match that saw heated debate on the first green as to who should hole first, and at one stage a referee called in to separate the caddies!

Sergio attempted to play mind games with Kim which only upset the crowd and ultimately affected Garcia’s game.

With the tension building my favourite shot was local boy J.B.Holmes’ tee shot on the 17th.  Pumped up and playing to win the match Holmes, ready to shoot deer, took a quick look down the fairway and slugged the most awesome drive in a baseball-cum-Happy Gilmore-fashion.  The drive was perfect, hitting the centre of the fairway and leaving only a wedge to the green.

J.B. Holmes and Boo Weekley may have looked like extras from The Hills Have Eyes, but they sure know how to play golf!

Ryder Cup 2010

The Celtic Manor Golf Course in Newport, Wales – home to the Ryder Cup 2010 – was criticsed earlier this year for being too easy to play.  I hope the course and the European Ryder Cup Captain, whoever that may be, considers how entertaining this years’ Ryder Cup was, due in part to the set up of the course itself. Ryder Cup betting will be interesting that’s for sure!

European Ryder Cup Pairings Leaked

On the eve of the much anticipated Ryder Cup between America & Europe, a photo has been taken of Nick Faldo holding a piece of paper with a list of pairings.

Dismissing the importance of the list, European Team Captain Nick Faldo said at a press conference yesterday that it was a parings list at all, just a lunch list of who wanted tuna, ham or beef sandwiches.  A brilliant, and for that I love the man!

Quite obviously the list is the European pairings, and as such we will see Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia be first out, followed Padraig Harrington and Robert Karlsson.

The next line shows the initials of Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and Paul Casey, then on the next line Oliver Wilson, Soren Hansen and Miguel Angel Jimenez. Henrik Stenson’s name was missing and this was a suprise considering how much Open Betting has favoured him this year.

My guess is that Faldo has grouped Rose, Poulter, Casey and McDowell and has yet to decide the final pairings.  Similarly, a choice is to be made between Wilson, Hansen, Jimenez and Stenson.

On further questioning Faldo almost conceded to it being an important list by saying:

“I haven’t put numbers next to them yet, have I? We don’t know what order they will go out, so some are safe.”

As European Team Captain Nick Faldo has continued to rub some people up the wrong way, as he did as a player.  But I like Faldo’s attitude, and so will many others across Europe when the European Team come home with the Ryder Cup once again.