Buamain expects greater regional support for MENA Tour

Joy Chakravarty 09:52 20/04/2016
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Good for the region: Mohamed Juma Buamaim with Ahmed Marjane, the first Tour winner from MENA countries.

Now that the International Federation of the PGA Tours and the World Golf Ranking governing board has recognised the MENA Golf Tour, founder Mohamed Juma Buamaim has urged the regional federations and tournaments to show similar support to the fledgling Tour.

Earlier this week, the MENA Tour became only the 19th Tour in the world which became eligible to receive world ranking points. That was a cherished dream of Buamaim from the day he announced the formation of the Tour, which has grown from four events in 2011 to 19 this season.

“This is what we aimed for from the first day. It took longer than I anticipated and we really had to work hard to achieve this. But we have got it now and that is the main thing,” said Buamaim.

“This is fantastic for the MENA region, especially with golf making a re-entry into the Olympic Games starting this year. The world ranking provides the pathway for our Arab players to get into the Olympics.

“Now is the turn of the golf federations in the Arab world, and for the various tournaments in the region, to support the MENA Tour.”

Buamaim said there is a ‘comfort factor’ for the players from the region on the MENA Tour, which they do not get anywhere else.

“Many of our Moroccan players play on the EuroPro Tour and in Germany. It makes better financial sense for them to go across to Europe and play. But I have spoken to most of them and they have all said they’d prefer playing on the MENA Golf Tour,” said Buamaim.

“That is because of the comfort factor they have on our Tour. The players from the region are much more comfortable playing here.

“I know most events have been won by foreign players. But almost every foreign champion makes it a point to share his experiences and reaches out to the Arab players. They are very helpful to each other.

“Four years ago, most Moroccan players would finish their rounds and huddle in their own groups. Now, they have learned to converse in English and love to spend time with other players. To me, this is development too. Of course, their game has also become better.”

Buamaim said the ball is now in the court of the federations and also urged the European Tour to give spots to MENA Tour.

“I am not making anything out of this Tour. I am putting in money that we have worked very hard to earn. We do need support from sponsors, but more importantly, from Arab federations and from the European Tour, which has so many events in the region,” he added.

“I am not expecting much. Even if the federations put up the prize money for events in their own countries and urge their players to play our events, I am happy. But they have to realise that MENA Tour is our best way to get into the Olympics.

“And I’d like the European Tour to offer us a few spots in the tournaments they have here.

“For Desert Classic, we have it in the contract that we will have five players from MENA Tour. Why can’t they do something similar with other events? After all, they are respectful to other Tours when they go to other regions and offer them spots. The Chinese Golf Association and the Indian PGA Tour all get spots when the bigger Tours are playing in their area. Why not extend the same courtesy to us?”

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