x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Back to the drawing board again UAE golf team

It has been a depressing month for the standard bearers of the country's golf.

Three weeks after the UAE team failed to deliver on what were high expectations in the Arab championships in Tunisia, they took a backwards step on the higher global platform of the Eisenhower Trophy. If a seventh-place finish out of 16 Arab teams was a serious blow to Emirati pride, the team's disappointing 58th place out of 69 nations competing for the Eisenhower in Buenos Aires is nothing short of embarrassing.

Each event was preceded by tub-thumping.

Victory was seen as a realistic target in the Arab tournament, while hopes of a top-30, even a top-20 placing, were high in Argentina.

The results endorse the views expressed in August by Chris Vallender, the UAE national team coach, to the effect that the country is no nearer to producing a professional golfer than when he took his job three years ago.

Ahmed al Musharrekh, the best of a family of three brothers, was regarded as a candidate for the paid ranks but he and his colleagues in the UAE team - big brother Abdullah and Khalid Yousuf - have been shown to be out of their depth on the international stage.

Vallender and his bosses at the Emirates Golf Federation battle on undaunted in the search for genuine talent.

There is time for 19-year-old Ahmed al Musharrekh to bridge what is a massive gulf in class but current form makes such a leap unlikely.

 

wjohnson@thenational.ae