Following his efforts in the Icons Cup at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, NBA star Ray Allen discusses going pro at golf once his basketball career ends.
Team USA were dominant in the second round of singles as they stormed to a massive 16.5-10.5 victory in the inaugural Icons Cup golf tournament.
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At the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club yesterday, the Fred Couples-led Americans won eight out of the 11 singles matches in the battle between sporting celebrities with low handicaps.
Rest of the World, led by European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke, had raised visions of a stirring fightback in the 11 singles matches played on Thursday, but they could not carry on the momentum against the Americans, refreshed after a good night’s rest.
Despite making allowance for their handicap difference in the singles matches, the strength of the American team, which had more low-handicap players in their fold compared to Rest of the World, shone through.
Couples, the 1992 Masters and the 1995 Dubai Desert Classic champion, heaped praise on his team members.
“I think they played brilliant golf throughout. They came to the golf course today relaxed, rested and motivated to play well,” said Couples.
“I don’t mean this in any negative way for Darren’s Rest of the World team, but we were a much better side. In the sense, we had more low-handicappers, and we had players who play golf almost everyday.
— Eric Dickerson (@EricDickerson) April 24, 2015
“We really had great fun as a team, and then to win the inaugural event is even better. The credit must go to the 11 guys who made this long trip and then played their hearts out.”
Couples, who skippered USA to three consecutive Presidents Cup wins over Rest of the World, said there was nothing to say to his players before the round as they started the day one point ahead of their rivals.
“These are all champions of their game and they know what it takes to win. I really did not need to give a speech to them or motivate them, but I had to because they were going to film it for television.
“I just told them one thing, just do not bother about the handicap allowance. You might have to give them shots on a couple of holes, or even 4-5 holes. But you are good enough to beat them on the remaining 13-14 holes.”
Former Indian cricket captain Kapil Dev gave Rest of the World the perfect start and brought them level with a convincing 6&5 win over baseball Hall of Famer Russ Ortiz.
Kapil won the opening hole despite a drive that was far inferior than his rival, but was in superb form after that to close the issue within 13 holes.
Thereafter, Rest of the World got only two more wins – former Liverpool star Robbie Fowler beating Tom Glavine 2&1, and Australian spin legend Shane Warne getting the better of Golden Boy Oscar de la Hoya 3&2 in the last match that was anyway inconsequential to the overall result of the tournament.
— Joy Chakravarty (@TheJoyofGolf) April 24, 2015
With 14 points needed to win, Americans reached 11.5 with three wins between the losses to Kapil and Fowler, and then reeled off victories in the next five matches to seal the issue.
The most stinging loss for Rest of the World would have been the one suffered by Andriy Shevchenko against Brett Hull. The Ukrainian football star and the ice hockey Hall of Famer were singled out by their respective captains as their best players. But Shevchenko, who plays to a scratch, had a completely off day and was hammered 6&5 by Hull.
“Not bad for an ageing and fat hockey player,” exclaimed Hull after the match. “I had a horror start on the first hole, but then to play 13 holes to two-under par was fantastic.
“I played really well today, while Shevchenko was struggling a bit. But I really enjoyed playing with him because he is such a gentleman.”
Rest of the World captain Clarke said he was proud of the effort put in by his team.
“As you can see, they beat us quite convincingly,” said Clarke. “Today really was their day and they played very well.
“But I think we competed well. And to bounce back yesterday after the big loss in the greensomes was especially special. Shame we could not carry on that form to today.”
Paul Hanlin is the first winner of the Porsche Centre Dubai Men's Singles Match Play tournament after securing a sudden-death victory over Shelton Sacrafamilia in the final on the Majlis Course, at the Emirates Golf Club.
With the two players tied after 18 holes, Hanlin produced a superb escape from a bunker to save par on the first extra hole, edging a closely fought match.
In the doubles final, Warren Panting and Mark Joliffe defeated Vinay Mehra and Kush Sama to bring the latest event in the 2014/15 Porsche Centre Dubai golf programme to a conclusion.
Hosted by Porsche Centre Dubai, Al Nabooda Automobiles, and supported by RSA and Rivoli Group, the Porsche Centre Dubai Match Play Series was open to all amateur UAE resident golfers and saw 88 players competing in the men's singles and 76 in the doubles over the last seven months.
“The Match Play Series has been a big hit in a successful season of golf. We now look forward to the grand finale with the Porsche Centre Dubai Champions Trophy and are already planning to build on our strategic partnership with the Emirates Golf Club," said Vijay Rao, General Manager of Porsche Centre Dubai, Al Nabooda Automobiles, the sole distributor for Porsche in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
This will benefit Porsche customers, club members, and the wider local golfing community.”
Both Hanlin and Sacrafamilia will now progress to the Porsche Centre Dubai Champions Trophy, a 36-hole strokeplay event which is scheduled to take place on April 29th on The Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club.
The field for the Champions Trophy features the top 16 players from the men’s singles of the match play series along with the top 8 from the ladies singles as well as the six players who qualified through the Porsche Centre Dubai Ramadan Golf Cup last year.
The event will decide the Porsche Centre Dubai champion male and female golfers for the season.