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TIGER WOODS THE MAN AND THE LEGEND

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by Vijaya Chandrasoma

I have no pretensions of being a sports writer, but the terrible high speed motor accident that nearly killed Tiger Woods last week saddened me. He was a Superhero who made me, a mediocre golfer, indulge in Walter Mitty type of impossible and fantastic daydreams of playing just one round of golf like he did. A dream as ridiculous as disappearing into a telephone booth and emerging as Superman.

Tiger had emergency surgery “to repair significant damage to his right leg and ankle”. We are thankful he is “awake, responsive and recovering in his hospital room” at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, 11 miles from the scene of his accident.

The accident occurred at 7 a.m. on Tuesday. Foul play, drugs and alcohol were immediately ruled out. Tiger was perhaps driving too fast on a section of a highway which has a reputation for being accident-prone. I have driven along that section of Hawthorne Boulevard, a monotonous grid of a city highway which transforms, as it reaches the environs of the coastal town of Palos Verdes, into a beautifully undulating scenic parkway leading up rolling hills, then dropping dramatically to the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Like all things enchanting, Hawthorne carries a glint of danger if shown disrespect.

I have no intention to make this story about myself, only an effort to describe my addiction for the game. I started playing when I was 28. I played golf just about every weekend in the 70s, usually both Saturdays and Sundays, fourballs with three close friends, legends in the sports they represented nationally. How did a mediocrity ascend to these exalted sporting circles, you may ask? The only answers I could come up with is that we were close friends and I was more than their equal at the 19th hole. Although they were no slouches themselves.

My participation in the game had dwindled by the time I decided to emigrate to the United States in 1990, but my interest had not. I followed, on TV, the feats of legendary golfers like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo and many others. In Los Angeles, a distant second during the 90s to the enormous pride I savored in the academic achievements of my children, was the PGA Tour, which provided me some relief from a week of working at the most menial and mind-numbing jobs imaginable. The salt mines in Siberia would have made a significant improvement.

In the early 90s, before Tiger had burst in on the golf scene, I saw a TV flashback of a two-year old Tiger in an on-stage putting contest with Bob Hope, with Jimmy Stewart looking on, in the Mike Douglas Show in 1978. I was hooked!

A little history on the transformation of the game Tiger loved and largely wrought. His favorite golf course was the Augusta National, the annual scene of the first of the year’s four Majors, the Masters.

The co-founders of the Club in 1932 were Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts. Roberts famously decreed, “As long as I am alive, all the members will be white and all the caddies will be black”. These black caddies were also required to wear white overalls to make them “look smarter”. This despicable tradition persisted till 1983, when players were “allowed” to use white caddies, and the demeaning white overalls ceased to be mandatory.

The first African American to be elected to the Club in 1990 was Ron Townsend, CEO of the giant marketing network Gannet. African American men can take solace in the fact that women were allowed to join the Club only in 2012, the two initial members being former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Darla Moore, a mover and shaker in America’s financial scene.

Membership lists are kept secret by Augusta, but there are currently around 300 members, of whom five or six are black, two white women and Ms Rice, who has the great good fortune to be both black and a woman.

I dwelt on the history of Augusta’s National Course because the Masters was Tiger’s favorite tournament. When he won for the first time in 1997 by a record 12 shots, Jack Nicklaus, who finished a full 29 shots behind Tiger, predicted that “Woods would win more Green Jackets than him (six) and Arnold Palmer (four) combined”.

Tiger was born Eldrick Tont Woods in December 1975. His father, Earl was a college baseball player, an army veteran who served two tours in Vietnam. Earl started playing golf in 1972 at age 42, and became captivated with the game. He claims he was “close to” being a scratch golfer, but like many of us who become better as we get older, he was probably a single handicapper. Earl Woods was Tiger’s father, coach, mentor, his best friend and biggest fan till his death in 2006. When President Clinton saw Tiger running to his father to hug him after he won the 1997 Masters, he called Tiger and said that picture was “Tiger’s best shot of the day”.

As a nine year-old, Tiger made a bold commitment to his father: I am going to be professionally excellent. As his talent unfolded, this proved to be a remarkable understatement. Tiger achieved a dominance in a sport for over a decade which hasn’t been equaled, and will likely never be equaled.

Bradman and Viv Richards, Federer and Nadal, Michael Jordan and LeBron James, Pele and Ronaldo, Usain Bolt and Carl Lewis were Superstars in their sports. But no one had to change the conditions of the games in which they excelled to blunt their talents. They didn’t doctor the pitch at Lords to stop Bradman; they didn’t wet the tracks to slow Bolt down or alter the areas of the basketball courts and soccer grounds to deter Jordan or Pele; they didn’t mow the grass differently at the Center Court in Wimbledon to contain the grace of Federer.

But after Tiger, almost all the best courses in the world had to be “Tigerproofed” to make the game more challenging for Tiger. They added yardage, built more and deeper sandtraps and water hazards, they made the greens more undulating and pin placements more demanding. These changes also made the opposition work harder to keep up with Tiger. The entire game of Golf, the courses and players, the purses and TV ratings, all benefited because of Tiger’s genius.

In two years at Stanford University, Tiger won 10 Collegiate events, ending with the NCAA title. He turned professional in 1996, at the age of 20. Within a year, he had won three PGA tour championships, ending in a record 12-shot win in the 1997 Masters. A year that would be a proud career record for most professionals.

From 1996 through 2009, Tiger won 59 PGA tournaments and 14 Majors. He was the dominant player of the decade, of any decade, who exploded spectator participation, both live and on TV. He also encouraged the younger generation, especially those of the African American community, to take up the game at an earlier age.

The popular joke in those golden days of Woods’ dominance was: When a black man was chased by 150 white men in the 1950s, it was the KKK. Today, it’s the PGA tour!

During those halcyon years, Tiger made the headlines whether he won a tournament or missed the cut. I remember when I got home a little late when Tiger was playing, my son greeted me with the words, perhaps with a hint of sarcasm, “Thaathi, your ‘surrogate son’ just made a birdie!”. When I visited Salem, Oregon for the pre-nuptial celebrations of my son in the April of 2005, I had to leave while the final round of the Masters was in progress to catch my plane to Phoenix. Tiger was in contention. I was on the freeway, when my son excitedly called me, exulting about that long, 90-degree break putt Tiger made on the 16th hole to tie for the lead with Chris DiMarco, and then beat him in a playoff. A putt no golfer will ever forget.

Then, from 2009 to 2012, there was a drought. What happened? Tiger had an acrimonious divorce from his wife in 2006. His multiple infidelities became tabloid fodder for the mainly white base of a game accessible to only the rich. These mainly white golf fans resented the dominance of a black man and reveled in his fall from grace. Tiger was booed at tournaments, reviled by the tabloids, rejected by his sponsors, forced to publicly apologize and to admit that he was seeking rehabilitation for sex addiction. This from a country which boasts the greatest number of sexual partners per capita and the highest divorce rates in the world. A country which has double standards for everyone, especially athletes and politicians, depending on skin color.

Shades of President Obama. Only, Obama did not fall from grace. His impeccable, scandal-free two term presidency infuriated even more the white supremacist supporters of the ignorant, immoral crook who succeeded him.

But, to the great glee of these racists, Tiger did fall. He was publicly and devastatingly shamed when his consensual “crimes” (which evoked secret admiration from most of us) became sanctimonious and hypocritical cannon fodder for the most sexually promiscuous nation in the world.

Hypocrisy which now rules the American political scene.

Because of public shaming of his “scandal” and health problems (Tiger has had back and knee surgeries approaching double digits), Tiger has won one Major (his epic Masters comeback in 2019) since 2008. Just one in over a decade, having won 14 in the decade immediately preceding! It’s not as if he didn’t have back and leg surgeries from 1997 to 2008. And golf is not a game which becomes unplayable with age. After all, Jack Nicklaus was 46 when he won his last Major at Augusta in 1986. Tom Watson was nearly 60 when he lost the British Open in a playoff in 2009.

The ridicule heaped on Tiger by the media and the white fans, compounded by health problems, adversely affected his performance and almost certainly robbed him from achieving his stated ambition of beating Nicklaus’ record of winning 18 Majors. Though he does hold the record, jointly with Sam Snead, of 82 PGA Tour victories, nine more than Nicklaus.

Tiger is 45 now. He will never again achieve the domination he enjoyed at the turn of the century. There are outstanding talents, like Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and Jordon Spieth lurking in the wings, adding a depth of talent the game has probably never seen before. But no one will dominate the game as Tiger did for over a decade.

Tiger is the doting father of two beautiful children, 13-year-old daughter Sam, a soccer player, and son Charlie, 11, an up and coming golfer. Sam’s name is really Sam, not short for anything. Tiger describes why he picked that name for his first-born: “My father had always called me Sam from the day I was born. … I would ask him, ‘Why don’t you ever call me Tiger?’ He says, ‘Well, you look more like a Sam’”. Charlie was named after Charlie Sifford, the first African American to play on the PGA tour.

Anyone who saw Tiger win the US Open at Torrey Pines in 2008, battling the excruciating pain of a torn Achilles tendon, will have no doubts about his resilience. He is responding well to his surgery after last Tuesday’s car accident. I have no doubt he will be back, if not for the Masters in April, then sooner rather than later. Whatever awaits him in the future, Tiger’s legend is for the ages.

President Obama said it best: “Sending my prayers to Tiger Woods and his family tonight – here’s to a speedy recovery for the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) of golf. If we’ve learned anything over the years, IT’S TO NEVER COUNT TIGER OUT.



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Features

To recognise and reward Women Entrepreneur

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by Zanita Careem

WCIC “Prathibhabis-heka” national awards will be given to outstanding women entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka and the SAARC said Anoji de Silva, the chairperson of Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce WCIC at a press conference held at the Jetwing hotel Ward PlaceThis year the Women Entrepreneur Awards 2022 is powered by DFCS Aloka.This National Award which is recognised globally will help women to market their products to international buyers

“As a country we have faced many difficulties over the last few years. Now this is the time to reflect and ensure that local women can contribute and progress to be on par with international entrepreneurs She also noted that this award ceremony is a great opportunity for all since it’s an absolutely empowering platform. “You hear success stories of women from different walks of life and it’s very empowering and inspiring. I’m sure that the younger generation of women who will watch the ceremony wii be inspired to be sucessful entrepreneurs in the future S

“Our women entrepreneurs have the potential to help our economy to grow. They have made vast strides to build companies on a set of values and they have created diverse working environments.

The WCIC Prathibhabisheka Women Entrepreneur Awards will be held in January 22. To the question how financial records of small businesses headed by women could deter their ability to apply the chairperson said.

“We have a startup category which is under five years where they can submit documents for consideration. She responded “These women can apply but must submit proper records to back their applications or else they will be rejected wholeheartedly.The Women Entrepreneur Awards 2022

“Prathibha” depicts excellence in Sanskrit and WCIC will showcase the excellence of outstanding women entrepreneurs through WCIC Prathibhabisheka –

“The relaunched property is structured to assess the businesses in a holistic manner. We invite outstanding women entrepreneurs, especially the ones who have braved the challenges in the past years to share their story of resilience and achievements to compete for the coveted – WCIC Prathibhabisheka The Awards will honour women entrepreneurs for their tenacity to scale and grow, and for their contribution and impact on the economy. Whilst the competition is primarily for Sri Lankan Entrepreneurs, we have also included an opportunity for women in the SAARC region to compete in a special category” stated Anoji De Silva, the Chairperson of the WCIC.

The members of WCIC Ramani Ponnambalam and Tusitha Kumarakul-asingam, said”. We will be accepting applications under the categories – Start-up, Micro, Small, Medium and Large. Each category will have a specified revenue for the year under review – 2021/22. Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards will be presented for each category. With the view to identify and promote regional women entrepreneurs, we will encourage applications from all the provinces in the country and select the “Best of the Region” from each province.

The women will also be considered for the coveted special awards – Young Woman Entrepreneur, Outstanding Start- up, Most Positively Abled Woman Entrepreneur, The Most Outstanding Export Oriented Entrepreneur, The Best of the SAARC Region. The ceremony will culminate with the selection of the “Women Entrepreneur of the year -2022”.

“The entry kit can be downloaded from www.wcicsl.lk and completed and submitted to the WCIC along with all the material required to substantiate the applicant’s story. Entries close on the 31st of October.” stated Tusitha Kumarak-ulasingam.

WCIC Prathibabisheka – Woman Entrepreneur Awards 2022 is powered by– DFCC Aloka, as the Platinum Sponsor, with Gold Sponsors – Mclarens Group, LOLL Holdings Plc, Hayleys Leisure Pic, and AIA Insurance Lanka Ltd (Exclusive Insurance Partner), Silver – Finez Capital Ventures Print and Social Media Partners will be the Wijeya Group and Electronic Media Partner–ABC Network with Triad as our Creative Partner and Ernst & Young as Knowledge Partner.

Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC) is the premier organization supporting entrepreneurs and professional business-women. The membership is open to women who believe they can contribute to society as well as benefit from the many facilities the organization creates. WCIC Prathibhasheka is relaunched this year as a flagship property, to recognize and reward outstanding women enterpreneurs who make a contribution to the SL economy.

For further information Contact- Janitha Stephens – 0766848080

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Marmalade sandwich in Queen’s handbag!

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In this period of national mourning, it may seem frivolous to comment on the late Queen’s handbag. After seven decades of selfless service to the nation, fashion is but a footnote to Her Majesty’s glorious reign.And yet her style is something that helped to create the powerful majestic image of Queen Elizabeth II, and which made her instantly recognisable worldwide. A key part of that image, and a constant presence in her working life, was her black Launer handbag.

Launer London was Her Majesty’s handbag maker for more than 50 years and has held the Royal Warrant since 1968. Launer bags are formal and structured, and proved to be the ideal regal accessory for public engagements. Its first royal patronage came from HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in the 1950s. Where others might have bought the latest ‘It’ bag, Queen Elizabeth exercised characteristic restraint with her handbags throughout her life, focusing on quality over quantity in her loyalty to Launer.

Her Majesty was known for her love of colour in her working wardrobe, wearing rainbow brights in order to be better seen by the public, but her accessories were always muted. Black mostly, sometimes beige or white in summer, gold or silver in the evening: neutrals that matched with every colour, allowing her to dress with ease. The timeless style of her trusty Traviata top-handle bag suited the Queen’s no-nonsense nature and symbolised her steadfast reign. The late Baroness Thatcher shared the Queen’s love of a strong top handle from classic British labels such as Launer and Asprey. These bags helped promote a look of someone in control. Like Queen Elizabeth, Thatcher’s handbags were such a part of her identity that they have earned their own special place in history and have been described as the former PM’s ‘secret weapon’. One such bag has been exhibited at the V&A alongside Sir Winston Churchill’s red despatch box. Both are artefacts of cultural and historic importance.

It has been said that there was another purpose to the Queen’s handbag on public engagements, namely that she used it as a secret signalling device. According to royal historian Hugo Vickers, Her Majesty would switch the bag from her left arm to her right to signal for an aide to come to her rescue if she tired of the conversation in which she was engaged. If she placed the bag on the table, this was a sign that she wanted to leave. Ever-practical, HM needed a bag that focused on functionality over fashion, choosing styles with slightly longer top handles that comfortably looped over the monarch’s arm, freeing her hands to accept bouquets and greet the public. Even in her final photograph, meeting her 15th prime minister in her sitting room at Balmoral Castle, just two days before her death last week, the Queen’s handbag can be seen on her left arm. Perhaps at this stage it was part armour, part comfort blanket.Even at the age of 96, Queen Elizabeth II did not lose her ability to surprise. She delighted the public by taking tea with Paddington Bear at her Platinum Jubilee celebrations and finally revealed what she keeps in her handbag: a marmalade sandwich, ‘for later’.

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Cinnamon Grand, Colombo welcomes You to the SEQUEL

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The next best thing in Colombo!

What would you get if you took the decadence of yesterday and paired it with the flavours of right now? Something bold and jazzy or rich and snazzy. Something we’d like to call the next best thing. All this and more at Cinnamon City Hotels to the SEQUEL at Cinnamon Grand, Colombo said a press release.

The release said the SEQUEL is where the old meets new, where charm meets sophistication and having a good time gets a new meaning. Colombo’s latest speakeasy cocktail bar is ready to welcome the discerning guest that is looking for that perfectly curated night.

“The SEQUEL will be a novel addition to Colombo’s nightlife catered to enthralling guests with our performances and showmanship,” said Kamal Munasinghe, Area Vice-President, Cinnamon City Hotels.

What do we mean when we say performance? It means that every little detail is tailored to those who appreciate elegance, and a bespoke experience like no other. Think walking into a vintage space accompanied by the sounds of Sinatra and Fitzgerald inviting you to do it your way or for once in your life. Think of the soul-searching and eclectic mix of Winehouse classics that you can drown your sorrows in.

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