Mendoza: Miguel makes history

I HAD the rare honor of playing golf with Miguel Tabuena on Friday. Occasion was the 17th Diamond Motors Invitationals at the Manila Golf Club inside plush Forbes Park, Makati City.

You just don’t get to play that easily at MGC, whose equivalent in stature and, yes, snootiness is Augusta National in Augusta, Georgia. Augusta is, of course, home of the Masters, the world’s most prestigious event.

My gratitude therefore goes enormously to George Blaylock, Diamond’s top honcho, who even so graciously included me in his flight that also included Matsuhiro Oshikiri, the jolly president of Mitsubishi Motors Philippines. And also to my dear old friend Art Balmadrid, who reminded me forcefully that I shouldn’t miss the event as it also afforded me the chance to see dear buddy Froi Dytianquin again. Thanks, Art.

At the Manila Golf Club, you walk virtually on rich man’s land. Rodeo Drive. Fifth Avenue. How many celebrities—big shots in show biz included—had been rejected membership there, despite the screaming color of their money? I don’t know if their rule of allowing a non-member to play there only once a week is still in effect. If yes, I don’t give a hoot.

Why, a share costing P40 million gives Club members all that right to be exclusive. And name me a Club that has a separate locker room for its guests? And first class at that, mind you. But exclusivity and all, George, Oshikiri-san, Miguel and I had fun.

Miguel was a thrill to watch in the flesh. Just one word to describe his game on Friday: Brilliant. One eagle. Should have been two—the second eagle from 25 feet lipped out. Six birdies. Parred the rest for a 63. Blue tees, just inches away from the gold tees.

In the awarding ceremony, George said of Miguel: “I’m happy to announce that Miguel Tabuena is now a Diamond Motors endorser. And today, Miguel’s 8-under-par 63 had set a new record for the redesigned course.”

The old course had a best of 61 fired by Rudy Labares. Tabuena, who plays this week in the Panasonic Open in Ibaraki, Japan, is already the proud owner of two Philippine Open crowns. He won his first when he was only 21 in 2015 and the second only last month.

So young and Tabuena, concealing his youth with a moustache, is up there already—virtually. Soon the Masters?
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