Mendoza: Bagtas is in PAL Golf as rules say so-A A +A
Friday, February 21, 2014
WHO is qualified to play in the PAL Seniors Golf Interclub?
One who is 55 years old or above and who is an amateur.
Why am I bringing this up three days into the ongoing PAL tournament in Bacolod?
Because several friends of mine have brought up the case of Eddie Bagtas.
Bagtas is now playing for Luisita because of two reasons.
One, he is qualified to play because he is 58 years old and two, because he is now an amateur.
OK, Bagtas used to be a professional. In fact, he was once one of the country’s top professionals after becoming one of the nation’s top amateurs. At one time, he was our No. 1 amateur.
Many times, he has represented the country. I was with him several times in battles overseas covering his exploits, including the Asia-Pacific Championship in Adelaide, Australia, in 1985.
OK, you want more history?
Bagtas’s teammates then were Carito Villaroman, Ramon Brobio, Robert Pactolerin and Antolin Fernando. All four have remained pros, although Brobio isn’t that active anymore in the circuit as he has concentrated on his teaching pro career on home soil after being a teaching pro in the US for several years.
Villaroman, the celebrated world junior champion whose record 17-under-par in the Optimist Worlds 15-17 age bracket in San Diego in 1988 remains unbroken, also teaches the sport on the side as he and Pactolerin haven’t totally left the circuit religiously staged yearly now by ICTSI.
Fernando is now mainly a teaching pro, too, although he can still hack it in the seniors pro circuit.
Well, two years ago, he quit before deciding to revert back to the amateurs. He got his amateur standing back through the usual process at the National Golf Association of the Philippines (NGAP). That qualified him to play for Luisita in the ongoing PAL Interclub.
“Isn’t he a bit overmatched against the field, having been a pro of note for many years?” my friend said.
Well, yes, I said. But is it his fault that the rules allow him to revert back to the amateurs?
Again, this is a free country. Rules are there to make the living right.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 22, 2014.