Manila Masters goes ahead in wake of Typhoon Haiyan
As I write this Wednesday night, the first round of the inaugural Resorts World Manila Masters is under way as scheduled – despite the fact that the Philippines is still reeling from Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated several southern parts of the island nation a few days ago.
"We feel for the people affected by this unfortunate tragedy and hope that through the staging of this tournament and through our support of aid and relief programs, we will be able to help in whatever way possible," said Asian Tour Chief Executive Mike Kerr.
The decision to proceed with the $750,000 tournament at the Southwoods Golf and Country Club was made, Kerr said, after "careful consideration and consultation with the local golf associations, authorities and relief agencies."
The Asian Tour and the tournament's sponsors have pledged to support the Philippines Red Cross in its efforts to provide aid and assistance, Kerr said. In addition, the tournament held a minute of silence Thursday afternoon (Wednesday night in the United States) as a show of respect for the storm's victims.
Among the players on hand in Manila is two-time PGA Tour winner Daniel Chopra, who decided to come to the Philippines instead of the PGA Tour's OHL Classic partly to show his support for the relief efforts.
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''I thought the Philippines needs help right now. It was an easy decision for me to make between playing here or back on the PGA Tour in Mexico,'' he said in a story on the Asian Tour website. ''We've got the Red Cross here this week, so hopefully some of the players here can provide some sort of support financially to help the victims.''
Chopra, by the way, built the foundation of his pro career in Asia, and got his breakthrough victory at the 1993 Johor Open in nearby Malaysia.
Veteran Filipino golfer Frankie Minoza said he's aiming to win this week so he can make some money to donate to the victims of the worst typhoon ever to hit the Philippines.
"Filipinos have very strong heart. We are used to typhoons hitting our country, but it was unusual this year," Minoza said. "We'll get over this as we are survivors and we help each other."
If you're interested in helping out, you can make a donation through the Philippines Red Cross website at http://www.redcross.org.ph/donate
The Associated Press contributed to this report.