Resorts World Manila (RWM) will not let this year end without a bang. 2015 is not yet over! Not by a long shot. Golf enthusiasts all around the globe know that when RWM Masters is just around the corner, it is either you go big or go home. RWM Masters 2015 is held at Manila Southwoods, Carmona, Cavite from November 16 to 22. Two years ago, back in 2013, RWM Masters already staged the historical, US$750,000 prize pot, which is the richest golf tournament ever held in the country so far. Then, on the following year, still not satisfied of their great feat, RWM Masters 2014 beats its own record by upping the ante by US$250,000 putting itself on its rightful throne as still the richest golf tournament in the country. But that is not the end of that entire mind-blowing triumph. RWM Masters would not even think of stopping there. Now on its third year, I wouldn’t even dare to expect anything less than prestige and greatness.
RWM Masters had served a lot of surprises that would set the bars high not just for being one of the most prestigious golfing tournaments in the country but also as one of the most awaited golf tours in whole of Asia. First in the menu would be the whopping US$1 Million pot money, the main reason RWM Masters is still being called as “The Richest Golf Tournament in the Philippines.” This would not just be a gleam on national players’ eyes but this kind of high mark would also put the tournament on the world stage, causing this occasion to be indeed awaited and be one of the premier events on the Asian Tour. But the game is not just about the money. For as we know that Liang Wen-chong of China donated to the victims of typhoon Yolanda half of his winnings. That act really proved that this tournament is not just for the talented but also for the kind hearted, setting a standard and giving glory for the name of the sport itself.
Adding to the prestige would be 14 players included in the top-20 Asian Tour’s Order of Merit and few of the greatest Filipino golfers out there. RWM really picked a great name for the event for only no other title would fit the players rather than Masters of the sport. I have never seen anything as star studded as putting together the greatest in the industry in one playing field. This also made the media buzzing, for no one can predict who will win and from the moment the seven day event started, it is as if all the elites gather together to show everyone how the game is really played.
It does not end there. This event is not just a walk in the park. One hindrance would be the heavy traffic. Tough we know that here in Manila, being stuck in traffic is like eating rice. A day would not be complete without it. But although we are aware of that, most of the players are not. Especially, APEC is held the same week as the RWM Masters, causing some roads to be closed. So it is up to the management and staff of RWM and Manila Southwoods to cater to the players, media and other attendees to the point of pampering, for them to forget about the travel and enjoy more of the event. Here is where our natural traits come in handy. From the moment the security guard at the gate looked over to check us, to the servers of the food and the caddies, Filipino hospitality reigns. Everyone is welcomed with a smile and full courtesy. And the food is no less than amazing. Even as I’m writing this, my mouth is still watering wanting another serving of whatever they offer.
Now it is concluded, having Natipong Srithong of Thailand as the new defending champion for the RWM Masters. But the feather in his cap is not by a breeze because there have been a possible playoff between Natipong Srithong, Jbe Krugger of Republic of South Africa, Lee Chieh-po of Taipei, Rahil Gangjee of India and Hung Chien-yao of Taipei. Hung Chien-yao showed his skills by sinking in a hole in one in the 13th. This drive had set him close to Jbe Krugger making him third on the race while at the 14th. But from the 15th to the 17th hole, it seems like it is anybody’s game due to Hung Chien-yao tying up with Natipong Srithong, making him Srithong’s closes adversary for the title. But they are not the only one who had their eyes for the prize. Jbe Krugger, Lee Chieh-po and Rahil Gangjee had all set up an Eagle on the 18th hole. But in the end, Natipong Srithong showed more will and finished triumphant as the reigning champion of RWM Masters with all the bragging rights and the jaw dropping cash prize. While the reward for Hung Chieng-yao’s hole in one is a helicopter ride , topped off with his part of the US$1 Million winning money. All in all, the event is just exhilarating and I hope I would again be part of the next RWM Masters, wondering what great feat they would display next. And what sportsmanship and glory will the players engrave on the history of the sport for the next year. Resorts World Manila Masters is really a testament on Resorts World’s motto, “Nothing Compares.”