Friday, June 12, 2009

Golf's silent war

MALGA has trained many young girls to be excellent players. Here we see a coaching clinic in progress.

The jostling between Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) and Malaysian Ladies Golf Association (MALGA) seems to be heating up with no apparent solution in sight. The "silent war" is causing many to express concern that it may end up damaging the growth of the sport in Malaysia.
Unlike most sports, golf is one sport that has excellent and comfortable facilities as well as different rules for participation in international meet.
The problem between MGA and MALGA began to get serious in the late 1990s. According to some observers, MGA feels that it is the governing body and no other body must overshadow it while MALGA wants to be allowed to do what it is has been doing quite well - developing golf among the ladies.
MGA is a national body registered with the Sports Commissioner (SC) and MALGA is a national body which was among the first three to be registered by SC's office. However, MALGA has been forced to be an invited representative in MGA's meetings with no rights.
"The clubs seem to have more say and rights," said a golf enthusiast, familiar with the happenings.
Those familiar with this issue say that, MGA was upset when MALGA got plenty of publicity and their competitions received much support. Even though the leadership changed a few times, the attitude towards the ladies never changed.
MALGA had 3,000 girls at school level onwards playing golf all over the country. However,
MGA stepped in and from 2006 began to offer contracts to some of the top girls and soon controlled their movements.
In the Jakarta open in May, MALGA entered four players but had to withdraw Kelly Tan because she was on contract with MGA and the national body refused to allow her to participate. This caused MALGA to send Nur Durriyah Damian as a replacement and she apparently did quite well. The other three were Isza Fariza Ismail, Nor Islamiah M. Fuah and Aretha Pan.
In the Queen Sirikhit Tournament in Thailand, both MGA and MALGA send entries but the organizers accepted the ladies' list because MALGA are a member of the tournament.
Recently, MGA organized its first Malaysian Ladies Amateur Open (MLAO) with the final rounds held in Kuching. MALGA has been organizing their own MLAO for the past 25 years and the 26th edition is to be held soon at the Mines Golf and Resort and they have received an overwhelming response from Asia-Pacific countries.
For multi sports games, MGA - and affiliate of Olympic Council of Malaysia - would submit their list and MALGA - an associate member of OCM - would also send in their recommendations and the OCM would normally choose the best.
Golf has a different set of rules for participation in overseas tournament. Players can participate as professionals, through clubs or national bodies which are affiliated to the circuit or tournament. Locally, both MGA and MALGA must get the SC sanction before hosting a meet and bot have been doing so.
This situation is not healthy for golf. MGA should take the lead and maybe form a coordinating committee with MALGA so that golf can continue to be developed. MGA should acknowledge MALGA as an active partner in golf while MALGA should also accept MGA as the main body and work together.
Maybe the SC's office should step in. Or maybe even the National Sport Council (NSC). Either was, something has to be done before this silent and cold war overflows into the international scene.

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