Truth & Rumors: Cuba open for golf business

Truth & Rumors: Cuba open for golf business

In the storied tradition of bad golf jokes, one of the worst is calling a putt that stops just short of the hole a “Cuban” — just needs one more revolution. Well, that revolution might be happening now, at least when it comes to golf. The New York Times reports that the Cuban goverment has approved four luxury golf resorts.

One of Fidel Castro’s first acts upon taking power was to get rid of Cuba’s golf courses, seeking to stamp out a sport he and other socialist revolutionaries saw as the epitome of bourgeois excess.
Now, 50 years later, foreign developers say the Cuban government has swung in nearly the opposite direction, giving preliminary approval in recent weeks for four large luxury golf resorts on the island, the first in an expected wave of more than a dozen that the government anticipates will lure free-spending tourists to a nation hungry for cash.
The four initial projects total more than $1.5 billion, with the government’s cut of the profits about half. Plans for the developments include residences that foreigners will be permitted to buy — a rare opportunity from a government that all but banned private property in its push for social equality.

Of course, the U.S. government still prohibits Americans from spending money in Cuba, so U.S. golfers dreaming of post-round cigars in Havana will have to wait, or find a flight from Toronto. Sergio Garcia at end of his major qualifying ropeSergio Garcia has played in 47 consecutive majors, but he doesn’t appear likely to get to 48. The Orlando Sentinel has the details.

The Spaniard lasted just four holes in Monday’s British Open international qualifier outside Dallas, withdrawing because of an infected fingernail. He still can get into the field by cracking the top 50 in next week’s world rankings – he’s 73rd now – or via a few other convoluted methods.
The bigger issue might be the U.S. Open, where Garcia missed the first top-50 cutoff this past Monday. That leaves the U.S. Golf Association’s new last-chance top-50 snapshot on June 13 – or go through 36-hole qualifying on June 6.
And he doesn’t sound like the latter option is all that appealing.
“I don’t think so,” Garcia told reporters at The Players Championship. “If I don’t qualify [through the rankings], then I don’t deserve to play.”

Schwartzel wanted to face Tiger on Masters SundayAt the European Tour's BMW PGA Championship in Wentworth, England, this week, Charl Schwartzel said that Tiger Woods’ front-nine charge on Sunday at the Masters helped him play his best. There’s a lot of talk that Woods’ aura is diminished, but Schwartzel said he was inspired that Woods was playing his best golf.

Q. Just looking back on that final Sunday, there was a time when if Tiger went on the charge, there was a sense that other players would go backwards because he was so intimidating. He certainly was on the charge on front nine and noise coming across the course. Did that affect you in any sense? CHARL SCHWARTZEL: It affected me in a positive way. Q. In a positive way? CHARL SCHWARTZEL: It's something that I always wanted. I enjoyed seeing his name up there, because I wanted to play — I wanted to play against him when he is starting to play at his best in a Major Championship. Surprisingly, I didn't feel any — I didn't feel very scared. I was excited to see his name and to go head-to-head down the last nine holes. You know, that was what I felt. Q. And is there a sense that people talk about his aura is gone, that he doesn't have the aura he once had; is that part of it? Would you have been scared, say, four years ago, if that had been Tiger on the charge? CHARL SCHWARTZEL: Yeah, because four years ago, I don't have the confidence I've got now. So it does go both ways. He was at his best. Now he's coming out of a slump. But then I have so much confidence, and I felt so in control. So that also gave me confidence. So you can sort of weigh it up.

Tweet of the Day Tiger Woods before his Tuesday morning press conference in suburban Philadelphia. Tiger_tod

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