Golf may be played in the 6th Micronesian Games after all.
With the Games staying on Saipan and with the Marshall Islands and Republic of Palau reportedly expressing interest in fielding teams, Refaluwasch Golf Association president Jess Wabol has changed his Pacific Games qualifying rounds to qualifying rounds for the Micronesian Games.
“Marshall Islands and Palau may join the CNMI and Guam in the golf competition. Rose Igitol also talked to me to turn in the number of medals we need for golf and the budget for the competition, so I guess golf will be played this June and July,” said Wabol.
The former Oleai Elementary School principal and many time golf national player said the inclusion of golf in the Games calendar has caught him a bit by surprise since he was already training his sights for the 2007 Pacific Games in Apia, Western Samoa.
“It really doesn’t bother me whether we have it or not. I’m really focusing and preparing for the Pacific Games next year, but if we get to play golf then, great. At least, we get to form a team earlier,” he said.
The RGA president said he is still waiting on the Micronesian Games Organizing Committee to give him a schedule of events before he sets the cut-off for his five-man, five-woman team.
“I’m still waiting for the [Micro Games] schedule and I will try to stretch [the selection process] to as far back as the last two months before the opening. Once we find out the schedule of the Games, then that’s when we will make a decision when to cut and then immediately start practicing as a team,” said Wabol.
He also reminded the islands’ elite golfers to show up and play in the qualifying rounds for the Micronesian Games men’s and women’s teams.
“Don’t wait until the last minute. That’s one reason why we’re not having make-up games. They have to start to play and participate in the qualifiers. I don’t want them to say that they didn’t know after everything is done already. There are a lot of good women players out there, but they haven’t really showed up. I don’t know what they’re waiting for,” Wabol said.
He said non-locals who want to wear the colors of the CNMI for the quadrennial event, however, must hurdle residency requirements set forth by the Micronesian Games Council. “I think Micro Games is seven years, but for Pacific Games it’s only four years,” he said.
Golf, like Saipan’s hosting of the Games, was scrapped after only the CNMI and Guam showed initial interest in fielding teams for the competition. The hosting of the Games, meanwhile, returned to the islands last Friday when Gov. Benigno R. Fitial rescinded his earlier decision and backed its hosting from June 23 to July 3.