Rugby Leg­end Hopes To See Golf Grow Here

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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

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