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Phuket Sports: Golf Guru

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Phuket Sports: Golf Guru | The Thaiger

PHUKET: This week the PGA tour moved to Bay Hill Golf Club in Florida for the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

It’s been Palmer’s back yard since 1974 when he purchased Bay Hill. Apparently he was not best pleased when the world’s number one player Luke Donald and world number two player Rory McIlroy didn’t take up his invitation to play. Palmer came to fame in the 50s and 60s. He was ‘the king’ while Jack Nicklaus was the pretender to the throne and South African Gary Player made up the ‘big three’ in golf.

Enter Tiger Woods and as one commentator said “he owns the 18th green”, which sounds silly until you check his record. Woods has won at Bay Hill six times and four times in a row from 2000 to 2003. Woods is the best front runner in the business and made a good start at Bay Hill with rounds of 69, 65 and 71 to lead by one shot.

It’s been two long years in the wilderness for Woods having had some well publicized personal problems, a caddie change and replaced his second swing coach. However Woods’ career so far is still second to none in the fact he wins one in the three events he plays. Tiger, if it’s not broken why fix it? But at this level they are all looking for that little extra edge.

Graeme McDowell had a 63 in the second round to sit one behind Woods, and after his last round all he could say was that he “had a front row seat watching Tiger’s every move”. McDowell shot 74 to finish second while Ian Poulter, love him or hate him, was lurking in the background in third position and stayed there for the rest of the day after a disappointing 74. Tiger didn’t even need to roar on Sunday. OK, the wind had dried out the greens, but one by one the chasing pack, who were more like a litter of kittens, seemed to throw away their chances to win. Woods finished with a 70 for a five shot victory. The game of golf needs Woods. As we know, television ratings go through the roof when he’s playing.

In 1971, the then Florida Citrus Invitational at Bay Hill was won by Palmer, who received a check for US$30,000. Woods this year received a check from Palmer of US$1,080,000. Is this running in line with inflation? Those in the know said that it would be two years before he would get his head back in the game. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating, as they say, when the first Major starts in two weeks time. Nice to have you back Tiger.

The European tour was in Morocco for the Trophee Hassan ll at the Golf du Palais Royal. Michael Hoey was in contention. Another Northern Ireland player, who had a good previous season finishing 25th on the order of merit with just under €1million.

His pedigree speaks volumes, having won the British Amateur Championship and Walker Cup in 2001. It’s still taken him some time to earn his spurs on the European Tour, but he started the last round with five birdies on the front nine to be out in 31. Hoey didn’t make the same mistake as Raphael Jacquelin the week before by coming home in 34 for a good solid 65, to win by three shots.

A worthy note for Jamie Donaldson, who shot 11 under for the last 12 holes giving him a homeward nine of 28 shots for a 61 that moved him up 40 places to finish third on the day.

It’s all over bar the shouting for the Masters entry list. All the exempt players are in, so the only way players can qualify is to win the Shell Huston Open this week, it would be great to see if Ernie Els could pull that off. Good luck Erine.

Martin Platts Director of The Golf Guru martin@thegolfguru.com.

— Martin Platts

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Tourism

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

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Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO | The Thaiger

There was the original Covid-19 outbreak and lockdowns back in April and May in 2020, then again just before Christmas and New Year when the new clusters emerged in Samut Sakhon and the eastern coastal provinces, Patong’s nightlife was quiet enough, almost non-existent.

Now when the restrictions are lifted, Nimz will take you through Phuket’s famous nightlife spot Bangla Road, Patong Beach and Phuket Town. It’s quiet, but there are still clubs open and operating and ready to welcome you.

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Deceased Phuket expat’s body stuck in hospital due to passport mix-up

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Deceased Phuket expat’s body stuck in hospital due to passport mix-up | The Thaiger

In a nightmarish scenario, a deceased Phuket expat’s body is stuck in a Thai hospital as his step‐daughter claims hospital administrators won’t release the body due to a passport mix‐up.

Gemma Swift, the step‐daughter of 75 year old David Donoghue, who died 2 weeks ago, says she is pleading with embassy staff in Thailand to resolve, what she says, is purely an administrative issue after Donoghue’s passport number at the hospital was from that of an expired one.

Donoghue’s current passport was on file with the British Embassy, but because it did not match what the hospital had, his body has remained at the hospital. Swift says it was something that could easily be corrected and the situation was “horrendous” for the family.

“The British Embassy over in Bangkok, they said that because [the number] was from his current passport, they were unable to change the letter. They have said that they won’t reissue a letter with the passport number that he’s got in the hospital with him.”

She said her family planned to arrange a funeral for him in Thailand, then bring his ashes back to the UK. As he retired to Phuket 15 years ago, her family would then take his ashes back to Thailand, as per his wishes, to scatter them.

However, none of his family members were able to travel to Thailand to be with Donoghue in his final days, as the mandatory 14 day quarantine period upon entering Thailand, would not have allowed them to see him.

“I thought this was a basic human right to be able to give somebody a funeral and I accept that there is always going to be red tape…but please just issue a letter and let us bring him home.”

She said before Covid-19, family members travelled often to Phuket to visit Donoghue, who once worked for the Thai tourist police. She says the entire ordeal has been heartbreaking as her family was unable to say goodbye.

“That on its own was heart breaking, and now to get this two weeks later, to find out we can’t give him a funeral, or get his ashes back, it’s just horrendous.”

“It’s like being on autopilot… once we know we have done everything we can, we can start the grieving process, but at the minute we can’t.”

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said they are assisting Donoghue’s family during the difficult time.

“Our staff are in contact with the local hospital and funeral director to help his family obtain the necessary paperwork to ensure his body is treated in line with their wishes.”

If the situation isn’t fixed, Donoghue’s body will join a mass cremation at the hospital.

SOURCE: BBC News

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

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Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | The Thaiger

In today’s Thailand News Today…. The island of Phuket has a firm plan to get its residents vaccinated leading up to an October opening for tourists, the Thai PM backs up his police over last Sunday’s protest violence and Thai Airway’s employee union criticises the changes to employee contracts.

But the plan must be approved by the national government by April, if the province wants to open tourism by October 1. Phuket has a resident population of around 300- 400,000 people.

Before you go rushing off to book your plane tickets we’d stress that this is another in a long list of proposals that have not come to fruition and we’d urge patience until the Government approves the plans.

Meanwhile the island has taken delivery of 4,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine. Vaccinations started yesterday, with priority given to 1,500 healthcare workers and 500 “at-risk” officials exposed to Covid-19 patients.

On a broader note… Thailand’s Tourism Minister says he has asked the Public Health Ministry to approve a vaccine passport scheme aimed at reviving Thailand’s devastated tourism sector. According to the Minister, the government is looking to the World Health Organisation to issue a statement on vaccine passports before it makes a final decision on the matter.

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha has defended police action against protesters taking part in Sunday’s anti-government rally in Bangkok. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Bureau used tear gas, a water cannon and rubber bullets in an effort to drive protesters back from the PM’s residence. The PM insists the actions were in line with international standards. He says that police did not violate the protesters’ rights.

Thai researchers are claiming that horseshoe bats are not responsible for transmitting the Covid virus to humans. A researcher with the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre, says that even though the bats have tested positive for a coronavirus, it is not the strain that is transmissible to humans, and it’s certainly not the virus that causes Covid-19.

As Thai Airways tries to sell new contracts and conditions to its remaining workforce, the labour union of the national carrier is challenging changes to the employment contracts, where Thai Airways employees are being asked to agree to changes as part of the bigger financial rehabilitation program.

But a union representative says the new contracts are unfair because it includes fewer leave days and shorter holidays. The union has filed a complaint with the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare.

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