Tropical Storm Humberto narrowly missed the Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, which are just beginning the recovery process after taking a devastating hit from Hurricane Dorian earlier this month.By 11 a.m. Sunday, the National Hurricane Center said Humberto was located about 180 miles north-northwest of Great Abaco Island and was moving at 7 mph to the north with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph.The NHC believes the storm will likely become a hurricane by Sunday night, but should remain far from the Bahamas and the U.S. coast by that time.However, Humberto briefly caused the closure of small airports in the Bahamas, and sent people in already damaged homes to seek shelter yet again, temporarily interrupting the distribution of needed supplies, including food and water.As the storm passed, residents and officials resumed their Hurricane Dorian cleanup and recovery efforts.U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited Great Abaco on Saturday to support the ongoing humanitarian efforts. He says, “Hurricane Dorian has been classified as Category 5. I think it’s Category Hell,” adding that he is horrified by the “level of systematic devastation.”The islands’ official death toll from Dorian remains at 50, and another 1,300 are still reported missing. However, officials say the list is preliminary, and some people may just be unable to connect with their loved ones.
14 Dec 2016 Exceptional trio celebrated at coaching awards Three exceptional men who support the country’s most promising golfers were celebrated at an awards dinner at the England Golf coaching conference. Standing ovations marked the announcement of Yorkshire’s Steve Robinson as 2016 Coach of the Year, Sussex’s Alan Covey as Volunteer Manager of the Year, and Cheshire’s Alan Thompson as the winner of the Lifetime Service Award. Nigel Edwards, England Golf Performance Director, commented: “These are truly exceptional people who stand out for the support and encouragement they provide to our golfers, helping them to be the best they can.” The conference, attended by county, regional and national coaches and managers, had the theme of creating a winning culture – and the achievements of the three award winners helped to highlight this. Steve Robinson (pictured top © Leaderboard Photography) has enjoyed a spectacular 2016, inspiring the England women’s team to become European champions for the first time in 23 years. Victory was particularly sweet because his teams had been involved in bronze medal play-offs in the previous three years, but have left the championships empty handed on each occasion. His players included Bronte Law, who has just turned professional after a stellar amateur career when she was ranked second in the world, played in three Curtis Cup teams, won the Annika Award as the top US college player and was European amateur champion. She sent a message to the conference saying: “The gold medal represents all Robbo’s work as a coach and mentor. He is not just a coach to me, he is a friend and I could not think of anyone who deserves this award more.” Robinson, who is based at Sandburn Hall, also coaches the Yorkshire boys’ and women’s teams – and between them they’ve won 11 English county championships. This year, three boys from the six-strong county squad have represented England and Robinson is also the personal coach to Charlie Thornton who won the England Golf Boys’ Order of Merit. He summed up how he creates a winning culture by saying: “It’s all about building relationships with the players and making sure you know their vision and their mission.” Alan Covey (pictured right © Leaderboard Photography) is the Sussex junior manager and an England Golf regional manager – and has such an impact that he received three separate nominations for the award of Volunteer Manager of the Year. One of his proposers summed him up: “One major factor of his success is that all the juniors like him. His encouragement and dedication to them is very evident and rewarded by their respect for him. I know many players who are now over 18 that keep in regular contact with him letting him know how they are progressing.” Within Sussex, Covey helps to organise coaching development for young players who wish to progress, and works with the county squads for players from U12 to U18 age groups. As an England Golf regional manager he is generous in sharing his knowledge and experience with other managers. He organises many events, including a national start-of-season championship for U16 boys and girls – and he also took an England team to the 2016 Canadian International Junior Challenge and encouraged them to victory. Covey commented on his award: “This isn’t just about me, it’s about every manager out there and all of us want to make a difference.” Alan Thompson was unable to be at the presentation of the Lifetime Service Award but delegates were told how he has dedicated his career to helping golfers achieve their full potential at all levels, working with club players, county golfers, elite national amateurs and top professionals. He was Cheshire coach for 25 years and was the professional at Heswall Golf Club until 2012 – when he retired to concentrate on his coaching. He’s been assistant coach to the England Men’s A Squad for many years and this season has been especially memorable with squad player Scott Gregory winning the Amateur Championship and the England Golf Men’s Order of Merit. He’s also taught many European Tour players, including Lee Slattery and Ryder Cup player Jamie Donaldson. Steve Burnett, the England Golf Men’s Performance Manager, paid tribute to Thommo’s achievements and said: “We want to say thank you for all your years of dedication, there are a lot of players out there who are very grateful.” During the conference delegates also heard from speakers including Sergio Lara-Bercial who has studied ‘serial winning coaches’ and Baroness Sue Campbell, who discussed turning ‘good into great.’ She chaired UK Sport from 2003-2013, presiding over Team GB and Paralympic GB’s largest medal haul in living memory; she has been the chair of the Youth Sport Trust since 2005 and she is the FA’s head of women’s football. Ben Stow and Ashley Chesters, who were top England amateurs before embarking on their professional careers, attended a Q&A session with delegates. Stow was the Brabazon Trophy champion and is now a Challenge Tour player, while Chesters was the double European amateur champion and has just won his European Tour card. Both have been supported by England Golf’s Give Back scheme which provided them with a number of Challenge Tour starts; in return they give back a proportion of earnings over a certain level to support the squad programme.
The 27-year-old world No. 44 finished in a tied-second position in Taiwan to start her year and is in the top-5 on the LPGA Tour due to her performance in the Bahamas. Her best performance in the Honda LPGA Thailand was a twelfth place finish last year.Golf fans can gain admission to the remaining days of the tournament, being played at Pattaya’s Siam Country Club Old Course from Feb. 23-26, by payment at the gate. Prices are as follows: Friday, 24 February: 300 THB/day; Saturday, 25 February: 400 THB; Sunday, 26 February: 500 THB; Four-Day Package: 800 THB (Free entry for children below 18 years old and senior citizens over 60 years old). The gates open at 08.30hrs on 24 February and at 08.00hrs on 25–26 February. Ladies world golf No. 1, Lydia Ko, is excited to be back at the Honda LPGA Thailand for the first time after three years and is expecting to be in her best form. Local golfing star, Pornanong Phatlum, is also in great form and confident to finish in the top-10, and would also like to see a Thai player win the title.Ko, the 20-year-old New Zealander who won 4 times on the LPGA Tour in 2016, including 1 major title, said, “I’m so excited to be back in Thailand this year for the first time since 2014 as I had to compete in the national tournament in my home country for the past 2 years at the same time, and now this tournament has been moved to September, I will have more chances to play in Thailand from now on. Thailand is one of our favorite countries to visit and play from the player’s perspective and I have to say it has the best food, tourism and the culture compared to the other countries.”World No. 1 female golfer Lydia Ko of New Zealand will be in action in Pattaya this weekend at the Honda LPGA Thailand golf tournament, being held at Siam Country Club from Feb. 23-26. (AP Photo)The Rio 2016 Olympic silver-medalist also mentioned her form after having changed many parts of her game in recent times. “I almost changed everything over the past few years which gives me great excitement and almost makes me feel like I’m back to my rookie year. I do have a strong belief with my new clubs, a new team and a new swing that I’m still learning to adapt, so the main thing is to believe in yourself and have fun on the course. It’s so great to see so many good young players competing at the elite level. I’m not too worried about my ranking but I do need to improve certain points to maintain my position in the upper echelons of the rankings.Meanwhile Pornanong Phatlum, one of the local star players, is in her best form going into her 8th time at the Honda LPGA Thailand. “I started my season on the LPGA Tour by finishing in the top-5 in the Bahamas which has lifted my confidence,” she said. “Now I am preparing myself for the tournament and would like to win the title for Thai fans, but will not put too much pressure on myself. I would like to see any Thai player win this tournament because it is the only LPGA event in Thailand.”Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum will be hoping to deliver a home victory this weekend. (AP Photo)