International Pairs’ ambition to become a truly global competition has moved a major step closer after Nigeria confirmed they will have a pair competing at the 2007 World Final in Scotland next month for the first time in its history.
Ikoyi Golf Club in Lagos staged the country’s inaugural qualifying event last month for International Pairs – the largest tournament of its kind for club golfers in the world, which is sponsored by VisitScotland.
Competition was fierce among the 45 pairs from five clubs across the country who were invited to take part in the two-day four-ball betterball Stableford event. Koreans IK Kim and James You, both residents in Nigeria, eventually prevailed with an impressive score of 79 points over the two days. And their reward is a trip to Scotland – the Home of Golf – to take part in the world final at the luxurious Fairmont St Andrews resort from 1-3 July.
Oluseyi Badmos, who is the new International Pairs licence holder for Nigeria and organised the event, said, “The competition is a new innovation to us in Nigeria, and everybody that played the one-off qualifier was excited. We’re already planning next year to play club qualifiers all over the country with the winners converging at Le Meridien Ibom Hotels & Golf Resorts for the finals.”
Kim, who plays off a handicap of 8, and 19-handicapper You will join competitors from as far-a-field as America, South Africa, Iceland and the Philippines to compete in the fourth International Pairs World Final.
Badmos revealed that he discovered the competition on the internet and is now looking forward to seeing it flourish in Nigeria over the next few years. He added, “Golf is a growing sport in Nigeria with more than 23 clubs and 5,000 golfers. Ikoyi Club has the largest number of members with more than 2,000 and I was looking for another tournament to enter after I had just got back from another event. I shouted ‘Eureka’ when I found the pairs on the Internet. I immediately got in touch with them and now I’m hooked. It’s a great idea.”
Ross Honey, founder and managing director of International Pairs, said, “Having countries like Nigeria join us is the embodiment of what International Pairs is all about since we set out on our journey nine years ago. The competition continues to go from strength to strength, we are building a worldwide family and their presence at this year’s world final will help make it a truly global occasion.”
International Pairs has been backed by VisitScotland for the last five years – and the national Scottish tourist body has committed to be the tournament’s main sponsor until at least 2008.
International Pairs www.internationalpairs.com