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January 31, 2015

Mohamed Juma Buamaim

Darren Clarke


MOHAMED JUMA BUAMAIM:テつ There is an interest from the UAE Golf Federation to make the final in UAE, THE TOUR Championship slightly bigger, so they have get some plans which we are discussing with them, so it will be a little bit more in terms of prize fund and so on.テつ Hopefully that will come through.
There is no doubt in any mind that the MENA Tour has lived up to everybody's expectation.テつ We already have a winner, an Arab kid who won a golf tournament, which means the talent is available in this region.
However, I talked a lot, and I think a lot of people got upset with me when I go on about this not getting sanctioning from the World Ranking and our friends from The European Tour, the chairman and Mr.Keith Waters were very kind to sit down with us yesterday and calm me down a little bit and explain to me how these things work.
What came out of that meeting, actually, the World Ranking aside, we should be working very, very closely with The European Tour in the future, and I hope it will be beneficial for both of us.
However, we also needed to give this tour a little bit of a push, and also we needed a little bit of guidance and we needed somebody who is a friend of ours who has been with us for a long time, and we couldn't find anyone better than Darren.テつ He showed interest because he believes in the youth and how we could get them to play golf in the right way for a start but also it's important that this region gets more golfers, not just get professionals, we need more golfers for our golf courses.
So Darren was kind enough to say that he will help in any capacity and therefore, we asked him to be our Patron, which he has kindly accepted.
Darren also has a school in Ireland which he started, and we are very, very interested because I believe this is something we lack in this region.テつ Just our schools here, they sort of run academic studies and the kids are there from 3.30, 4.00.テつ There's no way you're going to get any of these kids to practice golf after that; whereby these schools actually do golf and academic studies, so we will also be interested in that.
I will pass you on to Mr.Clarke to tell you how he feels about this.
DARREN CLARKE:テつ Thank you, as Mo just said, I've been coming to Dubai for a very long time and a lot again of late.テつ It is one of my favourite places in the world to keep coming back to.テつ I've always been actively involved in trying to promote golf to youngsters, especially at home where I'm from in Ireland.テつ When the opportunity came up and Mohamed asked me to be a Patron of the MENA Tour, I was only too glad to accept.
Over my years of playing, I've been involved in my school at home; I feel as if I've got quite a bit to offer with a young tour such as the MENA Tour.テつ With the quality of golfers coming out now, that's all very evident to see on the range how good the kids are getting at a younger and younger age.
So the opportunities are very limited for professional golf for young kids to get into.テつ This is an avenue, the MENA Tour, is an avenue where they will get professional experience.テつ You can practice as much as you want but unless you perform in a tournament, that's where you find out whether you're getting better or not.
As Mo just said with, ten tournaments this year, and I played in the DUBAi Open end of last year, thoroughly enjoyed it, part of the MENA Tour, it was a great tournament on a great golf course and extremely well run.テつ You know, I see big things for the MENA Tour.テつ I can only see it getting bigger and better.
I think what this whole area has given to the game of golf, especially The European Tour, with us having the opportunity to come here and play on courses such as this, the Desert Classic that we have, I think it's great that we are going to have a chance to give a little bit back to what they have given us in the European Tour.
If the MENA Tour keeps going the way that it is, I think it's a huge pathway for somebody from the region to qualify for the Olympics.テつ That's a massive thing; we are back in the Olympics now, and without that experience‑‑ a very difficult experience, playing tournament golf, and it would be very difficult for anybody to gain experience to get into the Olympics.テつ And this is another huge way in which the MENA Tour is going to benefit everybody in the area.
As Mo has said there again, there's a few questions that hopefully I'll be able to answer regarding the tournaments, some suggestions that I will have, and also with my golf school, which I have back at home, the kids go to school in the morning, they have their lessons in the morning and then they have‑‑ there's golf coaches there that take them to the gym, that coach them on the range to do bits and pieces.
So it's basically an American university sort of setup, is what the school is.テつ But if gives them the opportunity; my school at home is from ages 16 to 18, so they can figure out if they are going to be good enough or not to make it in the pro ranks.
So it gives them an opportunity to do their studies, yet at the same time, work very, very hard on their golf.テつ If that happened here, which I know Mohamed is very keen on the idea; it would again, only benefit all the young talent coming through here and indeed promote them to go on to the MENA Tour and to go onto bigger and better things.
Lee Westwood has the same sort of format in his golf schools and it works very well, both at home and abroad.テつ Hopefully that will happen, as well.テつ But it's going to be all about the MENA Tour and to make the Tour bigger and better, and I feel extremely proud and fortunate to be involved and I'm delighted with the opportunity that you've given me, Mohamed.テつ So hopefully my input will make it even better than it already is.テつ Mom mommy hope so.

Q.テつ Great to have taken up this responsibility, but wondering if your schedule permits, would you be interested, I know it's not your kind of state to play in tournaments like that, but if your schedule permits, would you like to play in one of these events?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ I will be playing one.テつ I will be playing at least one of the MENA Tour events.

Q.テつ You will be?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ Yes.テつ I'm a Patron and I want to support it, so I will be playing.

Q.テつ I would like to ask you what is the measurment for your success?テつ Will you be sitting here next year, you come here and make a view back; when are you satisfied and when are you not satisfied?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ I think to have a view within a year is maybe not quite that realistic.テつ It's a long‑term project.テつ The MENA Tour, it started off in 2011 with four events and it's now got ten, so it's gradually building.テつ You don't get success overnight in this game.テつ You have to put time and effort and patience into it.
It's like everything:テつ With the MENA Tour, it's growing.テつ It's self‑funded, so they need to get a few more sponsors on board, which hopefully I'll be able to help with, as well.テつ But it's making it bigger and better and little steps.テつ We already had one Arab winner or tour and we have to try to get more.テつ The success is not immediate; it's a long‑term goal.

Q.テつ Will someone of Darren Clarke's stature help lobby for sanctioning for World Ranking sanctioning?テつ Can you use him to help lobby?テつ Is that one of the ideas to bring him on board?
MOHAMED JUMA BUAMAIM: Collectively we are going to have this.テつ I think even though we keep going on about The European Tour, it's really not in their hands, but they are helping us out because they are the ones that came to the region and started this whole thing here.
But I think with Darren's name, I think it can swing a few votes to us at least.テつ We are hopeful.

Q.テつ Can I ask you, if you have to just point out three areas where you want to help the MENA Tour in the next one year, the three specific targets that you have in your mind?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ Three specific targets‑‑ maybe to give the MENA Tour members, if any of them want to ask for my advice, through my years of playing, what I've learned.テつ I've probably forgotten more than I've learnt.テつ So to try and help them in whatever way that should be.
Should it be advice on how to manage their time when they are on Tour; advice as to how to improve to get better; that would be one of my first and foremost ways I want to do.テつ As Mohamed said, I want to be involved with it and I want to try to make the tournaments themselves better.
As I mentioned earlier, the DUBAi Open was a very professional, extremely well‑run tournament.テつ There wasn't much I don't think I could have done to make that one a bit better, but maybe the other ones, with, I don't know, field numbers, different ways of getting more people interested in the game, as well.テつ My participation with the MENA Tour is not only just to help the pros, but it's also to try to promote golf in the area which in turn will try and promote more people to get playing the game because you have some of the best facilities here in the world.
So if that then comes back down to grass roots and you get more people playing, that's the whole idea behind it, as well.テつ So if I can do those things, then hopefully that will be good.
MOHAMED JUMA BUAMAIM: That's more than three.
DARREN CLARKE:テつ That is more than three.テつ Got a little bit carried away there (laughter).

Q.テつ Ahmed, as you mentioned is a pretty big example of just how big this tour has been.テつ Can you speak of the pride you've taken this week in what he's done in his growth from 2011, the scholarship, etc.?
MOHAMED JUMA BUAMAIM:テつ I think he missed the cut with minus one in the Dubai Desert Classic, that's not a bad thing at all.テつ You've got to realise, there's a lot of people, top players who, lost the cut this year (laughter).
DARREN CLARKE:テつ You were trying to be diplomatic there, I know, but anyway.
MOHAMED JUMA BUAMAIM:テつ He's shown that he's capable and he's won a tournament amongst all the European players.テつ And there is more than Ahmed there, by the way.テつ It's just a matter of time, especially from Morocco, it's just a matter of time.テつ And the more tournaments we have for them, the better it will be.
We had the guys from Morocco yesterday and they are willing now from 2016, because they are trying to see if anything goes well, from 2016, they are doing at least two big tournaments there on the MENA Tour.
I think they have one or two professionals there, as well.

Q.テつ Given Darren's stature in the game, it's big news that you are having him as a Patron.テつ How excited would you be considering what's going to happen in the next few months perhaps with Darren as the forerunner for being the captain of The Ryder Cup for The European Team?テつ I'll ask Darren, also, about his thoughts on this.
MOHAMED JUMA BUAMAIM:テつ I just hope him becoming our Patron doesn't affect his chances (laughter) but I think that's going to be the ultimate thing for the MENA Tour, to have him as our Patron and I hope he's going to be The Ryder Cup captain, and I think it will add a lot to the MENA Tour.テつ It's not planned, by the way.
DARREN CLARKE:テつ Well, the captaincy thing, a lot of people have asked me about it but that decision is out of my hands.テつ At the moment there's two forerunners which would obviously be Miguel and myself and whoever the committee decide to lead the team at Hazeltine will be a very worthy captain and I'm sure they will do a great job.
I have to say, it's not up to me; it's when the committee get together and they will decide whomever of the two of us is, if indeed it is just the two of us, we'll wish each other the best whomever they decide.

Q.テつ How excited are you at the possibility?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ I would be very excited if they would offer me the opportunity but at the moment there's no point getting excited about anything that's out of your own control.テつ So I shall, like all the rest of us, just wait and see what the committee decides.

Q.テつ With this now being the Patron of the MENA Tour, your school, your foundation, work, your career, small matter of The Ryder Cup captaincy, you have an awful lot on your plate.テつ How do you propose to balance all of those plates?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ The man sitting to your left at the end of the thing, he's the one you can ask all those questions because he organises my life.テつ So it's up to him wherever I'm supposed to be here, there or everywhere.
It's been the same for many, many years.テつ Chubby has obviously gotten me to this point.テつ We're always busy; as professional golfers, we don't just play golf.テつ We couldn't just turn up and practice and go play.テつ There's loads of other commitments we have outside of golf.テつ We are always busy believe it or not.テつ We are always doing this and that.
Obviously with everything going on, I'm going to be extremely busy, but that's fine.テつ The weather is minus three at home at the moment so it is much nicer to be here than home at the moment, but I'm sure Chubby will cope.

Q.テつ In Abu Dhabi, I was watching after you finished your round, I think you must have spent about 1 1/2, a good 1 1/2 hours at the range, and I've seen that in quite a few other tournaments, as well.テつ How much is that ambition‑‑ I know you are spreading your wings a lot in the last few years, but how much of involves getting back to the place where you were?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ My golf game from tee‑to‑green is as good as it's ever been, it really is, and unfortunately my touch on the greens is not quite there.テつ It's been a struggle on the greens these past few years, and that in itself makes it difficult.テつ Because if I look at my stats, my stats are perfectly adequate apart from whatever I get on the greens.テつ It's a matter of getting something to click in my putting stroke.
My desire to play has not diminished.テつ It would be very easy for me to be a Patron of the MENA Tour and not compete in one of the tournaments.テつ That's not what I want to do.テつ First and foremost, I'm a professional golfer; I love the game and I hate the game.テつ Sometimes the hate is a little bit more than the love but that's just the way it is.テつ That's the same with a lot of professional golfers.テつ But I want to play; I want to compete, and when I'm not competing, I've got to work harder at my game, so that's what I have to do.
It's balance between other commitments and playing golf but my desire to compete and successfully compete is still as strong as ever.

Q.テつ I remember at the DUBAi Open, you said you had a little black book full of advice from over player you've played alongside.テつ Are you going to let the MENA Tour players have look at it or will you publish it?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ No I definitely won't publish it but if any of them want to see it, they would be more than welcome to see it.テつ It's all about ‑‑ believe it or not out here, the majority of the pros would help each other.テつ If you walked out onto that range, if you are struggling with something, you ask any pro to come take a look, whichever one you ask they would do.テつ We help each other out here.テつ That's what happens.テつ It's a strange thing, doesn't happen in a lot of other sports but we do it out here, even though we are rivals when we go on the golf course.
But as I said, touched on earlier there, if I can ask if any of them, players wanted to ask me, I think I would be more than welcome to help them.テつ It has been suggested to me before that I'm slightly intimidating now and again, but that's not through intention.テつ But my whole idea would be to help as many of the young kids improve as I possibly can.

Q.テつ If you could give one piece of advice to any of the MENA Tour guys coming through, is it the hard work and dedication?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ Dedication is the big thing.テつ A lot of people think they worth hard enough at the game but unless you want to get to the top echelons of the game, you've got to work harder.テつ And everything now has changed a lot since I first came out on Tour.
Fitness is a huge part of it now, diet, everything, physios, everything is massively more important now than what it was when I first started back at the end of 1990.テつ Everybody would still go for a pint or two after they finished playing in those days.テつ Now it doesn't happen, it's much more professional.テつ Personally I blame Tiger for bringing all this healthy stuff in, but it's just the way it is.
For the MENA Tour players to get better, maybe being aware of those things that they may not be aware of, because they have not played in some of the big tournaments around the world, that may spur them onto work harder at their game.
That old adage of a hundred yards and in short game, if you compare yourself, if you want to take a look at the stats and compare it to the top players in the world, that's where they are really, really sharp.テつ You know, again, those little snip pets of advice are maybe things I could pass on if the guys were interested.

Q.テつ You mentioned about the possibility of being a pathway to the Olympics.テつ How big is that for the game's youngsters now?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ It's huge.テつ It's huge.テつ We have our four Majors, that's obvious, but they are our pinnacle of our sport.テつ Re‑entering the Olympics, at some stage, the Olympics is going to get up around that, as well.テつ Everybody would obviously love a Gold Medal, as well.テつ It is in its formative years, getting back into the Olympics.テつ I think it will be judged by the Olympic panel in '16 how it's gone on.テつ Hopefully they will keep it in and this will be a permanent fixture.
The Olympics, are they the biggest‑watched sporting event in the world; and the fact that our sport is back in there again can only be good.テつ And to give a pathway to the Olympics through the MENA Tour, give them an opportunity of getting better to improve to compete on the bigger stage, to get up those World Rankings, to enable them to compete in the Olympics, they have got to be able to compete first and then competition after that, then you're possibly looking at medals.
But the opportunity to start earning points and qualifying for the Olympics is huge for them.

Q.テつ We have a huge German community here and a lot of German companies here, I think they should be also interested to be an official sponsor.テつ Can you give me an explanation where you have only Mercedes bends?
MOHAMED JUMA BUAMAIM:テつ Only one German company; is that what you're saying?テつ If you know somebody you could recommend we are more than happy to do it half (laughter) par bar but no, these guys have been with us for a long time and they are into golf.
Before we close, I just want to say to everybody, the chap over there is Chris Canon, he is a member of the MENA Tour, and he's just got his card on the Asian Tour, and we are very, very proud of him.

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