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LOGAN PREDICTS WOODS REVIVAL, AS IMG, LE MERIDIEN GOLF SERIES DEBUTS

By NBF News
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SAM Logan, the Consultant to the International Management Group, (IMG), which is saddled with the responsibility of delivering the Le Meridien Golf Series, has predicted that former world number one, Tiger Woods, would soon bounce back to the summit of the game.

Logan believes Woods would this year stage a comeback to reclaim the top spot, which he lost in 2010 to Lee Westwood after a troubled 2010 beset by personal problems that climaxed in a divorce.

According to him, Woods still has the drive and dedication, which are the key factors needed to excel in the game, adding that the former world number one would clinch at least one major title and three tournaments this year.

IMG and the Le Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, Akwa Ibom State, have concluded plans to stage series of events that would give a boost to the game in the country, as well as showcase the magnificent golf facility, which is reputed as one of the most challenging in the West African sub-region.

IMG, an international brand, is among other things, saddled with the responsibility of managing top world sports, entertainment and fashion personalities. It has over the years made positive contributions to the development of these fields and is currently articulating the interest of Le Meridien Ibom Hotel in the area of golf.

To kick-start the golf revolution is the Le Meridien series, a three-pronged Le Meridien Open, which first event holds from March 4 to 6. The second leg comes up from April 22 to 24, while the third and final leg takes centre stage sometime in November.

Speaking recently at a media briefing, Logan emphasised that apart from managing the 'most challenging golf course in West Africa' the IMG also intends to bring in some innovations to the way tournaments are organised in the country.

He said he has observed the way golf events have been staged in the country since his arrival in April 2010, stressing that the Le Meridien series will not only allow golfers experience the challenges of the course, but will also expose players to the innovative ways of tournament organisation.

'It is our job, (IMG's and Le Meridien) to showcase this property (the resort) on behalf of our client and one of the best ways to deliver this is through golf. We, IMG and Le Meridien, are here today to show our support for the growth of golf in Nigeria in 2011,' he said.

The IMG chief stated that the tournaments, which would be non-fee paying, would be organised in such a way that it would attract the mass of Nigerians and others across the country, adding that the idea behind this was to make it a fun-filled one in order to attract the people and thereby build a large following for the game over time.

As part of growing the game, Logan revealed that their mandate goes beyond the Le Meridien Open series, as 'our goal is to enhance and improve on tournaments, initiate an inter club challenge tournament series and discuss how to improve on the current handicap system, focus on junior golf and get a vision of where golf needs to go for the future and doing that includes associating with the USGA.'

In the seed of time, Logan said the partnership will also midwife the birth of a three-day tourney for African professional players to be tagged 'Africa Cup,' which prize money would be a whooping $1.5 million. The tourney would see each African country send in two golfers to the tourney at Ibom Golf Club, with Nigeria having four slots.

According to him, the event would provide African stars with the opportunity to showcase their skills for the benefit of the younger generation who should be captured and lured to the game early enough if Nigeria and indeed Africa hopes to make any impact at the world stage.

Also in the pipeline in the next three months, Logan said, is the ECOWAS tourney, a team event, which will bring together amateur players from the West Africa sub-region.

Logan, who revealed that there were also plans to lure the Nigerian community in Atlanta, Georgia, to come home to amongst other things visit their kith and kin as well as play golf under the Nigerians resident in the 'Come Home to Nigeria,' advised the country to prepare adequately for the 2016 summer Olympics, which will see the return of golf to the multi-sport fiesta.

Also speaking at the event, Senior Adviser to the governor on Technical Matters, Etido Inyang, described the entire project as a welcome development, which the state government was looking forward to.