Golf: Singapore Open promoter confident wet weather won't put dampener on golf event

The audience waiting at the eighteenth hole during the final round of the SMBC Singapore Open held at Sentosa's Serapong course on Jan 22, 2017.
The audience waiting at the eighteenth hole during the final round of the SMBC Singapore Open held at Sentosa's Serapong course on Jan 22, 2017.PHOTO: ST FILE

Promoter assures play and gallery experience won't be affected by the ongoing wet weather

Despite the recent spate of rain and temperatures colder than usual, the promoter of next week's SMBC Singapore Open is confident that the playability of the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club will not be affected.

Patrick Feizal Joyce, Lagardere Sports vice-president Golf Asia, told The Straits Times yesterday: "The course is a little bit wet because of the amount of rain that we've had but, as always, the Serapong Course is an extremely well-designed golf course with fantastic drainage.

"We might see a few darker patches on the fairways because those might be depressions or low-lying areas where water tends to collect, but it doesn't affect how well the golf course plays... that course is a fantastic one and difficult whether wet or dry."

There are also a few concerns that the cooler weather would affect spectators' experience at the US$1 million (S$1.3 million) tournament. In fact, it could be a boon.

"This is the best possible weather you could get if you want to watch golf - it's cool, there's a light breeze and you could walk 18 holes," said Joyce. "It's much easier than if it was 33 deg C and blazing hot. I don't think this 'cold' weather is going to deter people. In fact, I hope it'll bring more people out to the golf tournament."

In the same vein, marathoner Soh Rui Yong, who famously cut holes in his running vest at August's SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur because of the hot weather, is finding the change in weather a boon.

Said Soh, who studied in Oregon in the US from 2013 to 2015: "It's actually awesome weather conditions for me. It makes the warm-up more pleasant as I don't sweat as much - though the rain and lightning are annoying. Being overseas taught me how to warm up sufficiently when the weather gets cold."

IDEAL CONDITIONS

This is the best possible weather you could get if you want to watch golf - it's cool, there's a light breeze and you could walk 18 holes.

PATRICK FEIZAL JOYCE, Lagadere Sports vice-president Golf Asia, believes the cooler weather will make the SMBC Singapore Open a more pleasurable watching experience for spectators.

However, the cool temperatures are not welcome everywhere.

National swimmer Amanda Lim admits that she finds it more difficult to get out of bed for morning training sessions, which start at 5.30am, especially with temperatures sinking to about 22 deg C over the last few days.

The 25-year-old SEA Games 50m freestyle champion said: "I now understand why my swimmer friends from Australia, the US and China say it's harder to get up in the morning in winter. The water feels colder and our bodies take longer to warm up - we have to swim harder and raise the intensity of our warm-up.

"But it's also good training for us because we go away to compete in cold countries and it's good practice once in a while."

It is just as well that land exercises - which were started during a training trip to Australia last month to cope with the chilly temperature there - are now part of their routine before they take the plunge into the pool at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.

The rain, when it has not been too heavy, has not proved a dampener yet - on Thursday evening, a friendly match between Tampines Rovers and Geylang International took place at Our Tampines Hub despite the steady drizzle as there was no lightning alert.

But Singapore Rugby Union general manager George Danapal is wary nonetheless. He said: "The league will start this weekend. If the rain persists, we will have no choice but to postpone the games."

National high jumper Michelle Sng considers herself "quite fortunate" that her training plans have not been disrupted and continues to practise in light rain.

The 30-year-old adds layers to her training attire of a long-sleeved top and long pants or tights to guard against the chill and is taking the weather change on the chin.

"Even in warmer weather, I warm up with layers, so it's just a matter of how many layers I remove as the workout progresses and now I just don't remove the layers," said the 2017 SEA Games champion, who carries a rain jacket with her. "It hasn't been too big of a wardrobe change for me... you just cope."

• Additional reporting by Wang Meng Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2018, with the headline 'S'pore open will be no washout'. Print Edition | Subscribe