Rugby Legend Hopes To See Golf Grow Here
George Gregan is renowned around the world for his rugby prowess but the most capped Australian rugby player is also a keen golfer. Announced last month as an ambassador for the Fiji International, the Rugby Legend can’t wait to attend the tournament on October 6-9 when it’s played at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course. “It’s a big achievement for Fiji tourism because it’s such a beautiful destination already,” Gregan said.
“You have world class, internationally designed golf courses in Fiji surrounded by pristine water. “I’ve been to Natadola Bay before and it’s a beautiful part of the world.” But more than just wanting to be a spectator at the globally recognised golf tournament, Gregan would love to see more Fijians adopting his second sport; golf.
“Having the Fiji International is fantastic for Fiji,”Gregan said. “Golf is a game which could easily be introduced to Fijians if they could get access to playing it a little easier.”
Since its inaugural staging in 2014, the Fiji International aims to leave a lasting legacy of golf in Fiji.
Thanks to the Fiji International, students from Years’ One to Eight across the country will benefit from the monthly golf training provided via the Junior Golf Programme. The programme aims to have 2,700 students involved by the end of 2016. Further to this, a Road Show around the country is set to launch this year which will allow Fijians to give golf a go or hone their skills. It is hoped that through exposure to golf via these participation initiatives and watching some of the best players in the world compete at the Fiji International, Fiji’s next Vijay Singh will be developed.
Gregan, a talented golfer himself, believes Fijians have the ideal skills to be gifted golfers.
“Fijians are just wonderful athletes. Just look at Vijay Singh and what he has achieved during his career and continues to,” Gregan said.
“Athletically, Fijians would excel in a sport like golf because more and more the modern game golfers are becoming so athletic.” “The Fijian people would have no problem with clubhead speed or strength, both key components to a successful swing.”
7s reps take a swing Leading the charge in adopting golf as a second sport are, Olympic gold medallists, Osea Kolinisau and Emosi Mulevoro. The Fijian rugby 7s stars introduced to the game last year by Coach Ben Ryan, who at last year’s Fiji International was glowing in his praise of his player’s performance on the golf course. “These guys are just being modest. They have only played a couple of rounds but they have both got birdies at Natadola and Pacific Harbour. Osea hit the pin off the tee,” said Ryan, speaking at the 2015 Fiji International. “They are good footballers with athletic ability, so immediately they are competitive and want to hit the ball further, more accurately.
“That’s one of the great things about golf, you can always improve, it’s good fun and challenging.” As an ambassador of the Fiji International, Gregan will compete in the tournament pro-am, conduct a junior rugby clinic and attend the tournament throughout the week.
The Fiji International will be played at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course on October 6-9 with the Pro-Am to be played on October 5.
Tickets for the Fiji International are available at the gate with children under the age of 16 free when accompanied by an adult. For more information about the tournament please visit fijiinternational.com
Source: Fiji International